VA and National Cancer Institute to share data to help track and treat vets

13 September 2023- Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a historic partnership with the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute to share cancer registry information. This is a significant advancement in the nation’s fight against cancer that will help medical professionals better research, understand, and ultimately treat cancer among Veterans and all Americans.

Specifically, VA and NCI will now exchange cancer diagnosis and treatment data, giving VA access to critical data for Veteran cancer diagnoses and treatments occurring outside VA’s immediate purview. This will help VA study the impact of cancer on the Veteran community — including cancer caused by toxic exposures such as burn pits or Agent Orange — to determine trends and research potential treatments. As always, this partnership will respect Veteran data privacy. 

“This historic partnership will help VA better understand and treat cancer among Veterans — while also helping the National Cancer Institute improve cancer treatment options for all Americans,” said VA’s Under Secretary for Health Shereef Elnahal, M.D. “Cancer touches and takes the lives of far too many Americans every year, but — by working together — we are fighting to end cancer as we know it.”

“The strategic exchange and curation of our nation’s cancer registry data will leverage the strengths of both agencies to the gain of every person facing a cancer diagnosis,” said Director, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI Katrina Goddard, Ph.D.

This effort builds on VA and the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive efforts to care for Veterans with cancer. In July, VA expanded cancer risk assessments and mammograms (as clinically appropriate) to Veterans under 40, regardless of age, symptoms, family history, or whether they are enrolled in VA health care. As a part of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, VA has also prioritized claims processing for Veterans with cancer — delivering nearly $215 million in PACT Act benefits to Veterans with cancer in the first year of the PACT Act alone.

This exchange will serve a critical role in cancer treatment efforts, allowing VA leadership and others to understand the impact of treatments nationwide. This data will also create new opportunities for the research community to support all patients facing a cancer diagnosis, ultimately reducing cancer’s burden on the nation.   

For more information on cancer care at VA, visit