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RI Veterans: Did you know? (Cancer info, Wreaths…), 8-12-22 – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, contributing writer

Did you know, other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men?

Did you know a VA study done between 2005 and 2019 found a decline in prostate cancer screening has been linked to subsequent increases in advanced cancers, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), findings that may spur revisiting current U.S. testing guidelines. This new study, involving more than 5 million men over age 40, at 128 VA facilities across the country, found that when screening was encouraged, later diagnoses of incurable advanced malignancies were less likely.

Did you know veterans who develop prostate cancer and were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service do not have to prove a connection between their prostate cancer and service to be eligible to receive VA health care and disability compensation.

Last week’s article detailed one of several cancer screenings being conducted by the VA, lung cancer. Other cancer screening available to veterans through the VA Healthcare system include prostate and breast cancer screening, details on both below.

Prostate Cancer

What is prostate cancer?

According to the CDC website, cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer. Not including skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system, which includes the penis, prostate, seminal vesicles, and testicles. The prostate is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). It produces fluid that makes up a part of semen. As a man ages, the prostate tends to increase in size. This can cause the urethra to narrow and decrease urine flow. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, and it is not the same as prostate cancer. Men may also have other prostate changes that are not cancer.

When should a veteran be screened for prostate cancer?

For average risk patients, PSA screening should be discussed at age 50 and age 40-45 for men with high risk factors.

How do you know if you have prostate cancer?

Most patients with early stage prostate cancer will not have any symptoms. Some patients may have frequent urination, urinary urgency, and/or blood in the urine, although these symptoms are commonly seen in patients with benign prostatic hypertrophy (an increase in the size of the prostate). Patients with bone metastasis may have bone pain according to a VA doctor.

Best bet for a veteran is to discuss the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening during the vetreran’s annual physical with his VA primary provider.

Breast Cancer Screening

According to the VA website, the VA uses the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer screening guidelines and recommends that all women begin getting yearly mammograms by age 45, and every other year at age 55.

The VA encourages all women between ages 50 and 75 to get mammograms every two years. If your health care provider recommends a mammogram outside of this age range, the VA will still provide it.

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breasts used either to screen for or diagnose breast cancer. A screening mammogram is done for women who have no symptoms but are at risk for breast cancer. This video tells you what to expect when you have a mammogram.

VA Photo

Be proactive

Have mammograms and breast exams as often as your healthcare provider advises. Also be sure you know how your breasts normally look and feel. This makes it easier to see any changes. Report any changes to your provider as soon as you can. Finally, check your insurance to know what’s covered.

Types of mammography

  • X-ray. Uses low dose X-ray to see breast tissue.
  • Digital. This uses electronics that convert X-rays into mammogram pictures of the breast. It uses less radiation.
  • Computer-aided detection (CAD). These look for abnormal areas of calcium deposits, and density.
  • 3-D mammogram. Images of the breast from different angles are taken to make a 3-D image set.

Female veterans should discuss mammogram screening with their VA primary provider.

Now you know more on VA cancer screening for prostate and mammograms for breast cancer.



December 14, 2022 – Wednesday, Golf Middle School, 974 Newport Ave, Pawtucket, RI, Goff Middle School Wreaths Across America program. The school is looking to share that day with local RI Veterans and hope they can join us! Please have them RSVP to [email protected] . The school invites ALL veterans and active duty reservists to attend. Their pre-program (student) showcase and veteran continental breakfast will begin at 8:45am. If individuals would like to sponsor wreaths to be placed at the RI Veterans cemetery, they may do so here Goff Middle School Supports RI Veterans Cemetery. Sponsor Wreaths Here.

December 17, 2022 – REMEMBER the Fallen. . . HONOR those who Serve. . . TEACH our children the value of Freedom. Friends and family will be helping at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery’s “Remember, Honor and Teach” by laying Remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country’s fallen heroes. Please help us honor and remember as many fallen heroes as possible by sponsoring remembrance wreaths, volunteering on Wreaths Day, or inviting your family and friends to attend with you.

December 19, 2022  – Monday, 3:00-10:00pm, Macaroni and Meatball Fundraiser for the Rhode Island Veterans Home Relief Fund, Perella’s Ristorante , 311 Metacom Ave, Warren RI. The proceeds will benefit 2 veterans living at the veterans home who are unable to pay their monthly credit card bills  accrued before moving into the veterans home; the current State of Rhode Island formula for the veterans living at the home takes 80% of the veteran income and does not allow sufficient funds for the veterans to pay the debts. Tickets are $15 and are available by contacting John at (401) 677-9838. Donations can be mailed to ITAM, Italian American War Veterans of US, 18 Winchester Ave, North Smithfield RI 02896.


RESOURCES & ongoing groups

Below are all of the groups the Providence Vet Center is currently offering, as we know them. 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 [email protected]***

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 pm.


Discounts for Veterans


No Problem Plumbing and Heating LLC 15% military discount , ask for Ron Gaynor, (401) 568-6666. Veterans must provide proof of eligibility with a VA Card, VA ID Card, or RI State license with veteran identification.


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 07/31/2022.

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 07/31/2022.

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



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, 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

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 3 select locations listed below:

Tioque 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.


If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward to:[email protected]:  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, [email protected], ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)


To read all columns in this series go to:


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.