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RI Veterans: Did you know? 5 May 22 (Lung Cancer) – John A. Cianci

by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

Did you know lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and among veterans treated by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)?

Did you know many veterans are at increased risk for lung cancer due to high smoking rates and exposure to carcinogens in the line of duty?

Did you know a recent study by the National Lung Screening Trial demonstrated a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer mortality with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening of high-risk smokers?

Free Lung Cancer Screening for Veterans 50-80 years old

The Veterans Administration provides  FREE lung cancer screening . Lung cancer screening is recommended for Veterans who are 50 – 80 years old or are current or former smokers who quit less than 15 years ago, and who have at least a 30 pack-year history of smoking.

VETTIP – Even if you do not meet the above criteria or ever smoked, serving in the military many of us were exposed were not smokers, however, were exposed to secondhand smoke and hazardous environments without the proper safety equipment. Simply put, call your VA provider and request lung screening, especially if you have any of the below warning signs on Myhealth.va.gov  

Lung Cancer Warning Signs

With lung health being a top concern during the pandemic, now is a great time to ask your health care provider to be screened for lung cancer. When found early, cancer is more likely to be successfully treated. Remember, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Take advantage of the screening that can help early when it’s easier to treat.

The earlier, the better

In most people, lung cancer doesn’t cause symptoms until it spreads to other parts of the body, making it harder to treat. Talk to your health care provider and see if you’re a candidate for screening.

Possible warning signs 

Lung cancer rarely has symptoms. When it does, it’s good to know what to look for. If signs of the disease start to appear, some symptoms can include:

·       Chronic, hacking, raspy coughing

·       Coughing up blood

·       Respiratory infections that keep coming back, including bronchitis or pneumonia, or even wheezing

·       Shortness of breath that gets worse or chest pain

·       Swelling of the neck and face

·       Pain and weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand

·       Trouble swallowing

·       Unexplained weight loss

Who should be screened?

Screening for lung cancer is recommended for Veterans who:

·       Are 50 – 80 years old

·       Are current or former smokers who quit less than 15 years ago

·       Smoked at least 20 pack-years (A ‘pack-year’ is smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. For example, a person could have a 20-pack-year history by smoking one pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for ten years.)

What happens when you are screened?

The only recommended screening test for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (also called a low-dose CT scan, or LDCT). LDCT is a painless, non-invasive imaging test performed in an outpatient setting where you will lie flat on your back for a few minutes while the CT machine takes images of your lungs. An X-ray machine scans your body in a spiral path in the test. This machine is linked to a computer, which processes the scanned information and creates detailed images. The scan only takes a few minutes and is not painful.

Viewing your results

Once you have completed your LDCT at a VA facility, you can view your results online by signing in with a Premium account to VA Medical Images and Reports. Then:

1.    Select Check Updates

2.    Select View Report to view or download a PDF copy of the Radiology Report for the desired study

3.    Not all study images are available. If the study images are not available, you can still access the Report by selecting the View Report link

Remember: The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking. If you are still smoking, talk with your VA healthcare team and call 1-855-QUIT VET to get help with quitting. VA is here to help you when you want to quit.

Too many of us have witnessed the death of a loved one to lung cancer. Moreover, often told, “if they were only diagnosed earlier.” 

Fortunately, the VA is committed and has the resources to provide screening tests for lung cancer.

Why would you not contact the VA and schedule your lung cancer screening?

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WANTED: Birthday cards

The last surviving Rhode Island Tuskegee Airman, Victor Butler, turns 100 on 21 May. 

For his grand day he wants birthday cards. The VFW is seeking birthday cards to deliver to the veteran on his birthday. Mail cards to Our Department will definitely comply with his wish. Please mail your cards to: Victor Butler, c/o Dora Vasquez-Hellner, PO Box 652, Ashaway RI 02804. Please mail your cards with time for Victor’s birthday.

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EVENTS:

May 10, Tuesday 900-1100am Northern Rhode Island Veteran Coffee House sponsored by Berard-Desjarlais American Legion Post 88 and the Italian American War Veterans of the United States At Legion Post 88  Open to all veterans and guests of veterans. Veterans Service Officers from the town of Burrillville, Linda D’Andrea Peck and ITAM Service Officer, John A Cianci will be available to assist any veteran or family member with his or her questions on federal and or state veteran benefits. More information, contact ITAM , phone: 1-401-677-9838 or itamri4vets@gmail.com.

May 14, 2022, Saturday Pierce Field, East Providence Elks Lodge sponsoring a Veteran’s Expo from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Services and assistance for veterans on housing, jobs, relocation, state and federal veteran benefits, etc. The event will be held rain or shine. Free lunch for all veterans.

May 15, 2022, Sunday, 3 p.m. St Bernard Church, 275 Tower Road, North Kingstown RI. The Lafayette Band of North Kingstown will present Armed Forces Salute, a free concert to honor those who have served in the military. 

May 19, 2022, Thursday, Veterans and Family Rhode Island Military Outreach Day at the Rhode Island State House. The RI House of Representatives has scheduled its Annual Veterans & Military Families Day on May 19th from 2 – 5 inside the Statehouse. Connect with veteran services providers and outreach statewide through the media. Please join us on May 19th and help us make this the most successful Veterans &  Military Families Outreach Day so far!

If you are a veteran provider or service organization and would like a table at the event, contact Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson, 401-952-7340 or vellawilkinson@gmail.com

May 21, 2022, Saturday, Quonset O Club, with general reception starting at 6pm, and dinner at $65 per person.6pm-10pm. Italian American War Veterans of the US Verrazzano Day Committee  active duty, veterans , and guest to recognize Navy Veteran Camille Vella-Wilkinson as the Verrazzano day Committee Person of The Year Award. Wilkinson is the FIRST FEMALE veteran to receive this prestigious award in 60 years for tireless advocacy for veterans and service in community. If you are a disabled veteran and wish to attend, contact ITAM at (401) 677-9838( limited donated tickets available), and or would like to sponsor a veteran or table, mail a check made out to ITAM, 18 Winchester Ave, N. Smithfield RI 02896. More information on tickets, contact John at (401) 677-9838 or email itamri4vets@gmail.com.

May 27- 30, Fort Adams, Friday – Sunday, Boots on The Ground for Heroes Memorial. Open to the public from 8:00-8:00pm, Memorial Day 8:00-6:00pm. Saturday May 28th from 5-6pm Patriotic Concert featuring the 88th Army Band, Rhode Island National Guard. 

RESOURCES

AARP offers a free career center for veterans, http://campaigns-aarp-org-stage.targetclose.com/veteran-job-center . The center offers a free course, Veterans Career Advantage,  job search tool for companies seeking veteran employees, link to access what a good resume looks like, and other tips for veterans seeking employment. 

Providence Vet Center 

Below are all of the groups the Providence Vet Center is currently offering. As this list changes, I will provide updates. Please send me any questions that you may have, thank you for your time!

*** All Vet Center Groups require that the Veteran be enrolled with the Vet Center prior to attending. To check eligibility or for questions, please contact the Vet Center at (401) 739-0167 or reach out to our Veteran Outreach Program Specialist (VOPS) via email at Justyn.Charon@va.gov ***

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Group (PTSD) – 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (Group is only active September through May)

Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and Vietnam Veterans PTSD Group – 2nd and 4th  Wednesday of the month from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Vietnam Veteran PTSD Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Art Expression Group – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) Group – Every Wednesday from 11:00 – 12:00 p.m.

Stress Management– Every Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Low Impact Walking Group – Every Tuesday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Guitar 4 Veterans – Every Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Monday Mindfulness Group – Every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Yoga Group – Every Friday from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Moral Injury Group – Every Friday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Modern Warrior Support Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 2:30 – 4:00 p.

DISCOUNTS

Restaurants

Applebee’s – Military Discount … With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2028

Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty . Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain.  Last verified 07/31/2028 (PS I had breakfast there on Saturday).

Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021

99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID

Retailers

Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021

Bass Pro Shops –  Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source).

BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021

Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount

“Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items.

Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, ID.me.

ID.me is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe.

GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through ID.me

Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer.

Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type.

Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY!

We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 15% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at select locations listed below:

Tiogue Ave, Coventry RI

Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI

Park Ave, Cranston RI

Michaels – offers a 15% off military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get –

1.    Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account.

2.    Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly.

3.    Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout.

O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21.

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If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward, itamri4vets@gmail.com:  the business’s name , location, and military and veteran discount offered.

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, itamri4vets@gmail.com, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)

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To read all columns in this series go to: https://rinewstoday.com/john-a-cianci/

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.