HR 5937 & National BRA Day – Seriously, I Couldn’t Even Make This Stuff Up!

This month saw the introduction of a bill to require all breast cancer patients be given information about their reconstructive choices. This bill is enthusiastically backed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a group that has also launched…I kid you not…National Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day to bring awareness. Personally, I think the crux of the issue is stated quite clearly in the opening paragraph of their press release: “However, only 33 percent of eligible women with breast cancer undergo breast reconstruction…” Ca-ching.

I will be sending the letter that follows to members of Congress…both those who represent me and those I have come to know, urging them to THINK sensibly. I will also be contacting BRA Day spokeswoman Jewel, urging her to RETHINK this insulting, pejorative effort. For more in the blogosphere check out Nancy’s fantastic post at Nancy’s Point.

Dear Member of Congress,

As I am sure you are aware, HR 5937: The Breast Cancer Patient Education Act of 2012, is making its way through the House of Representatives.

I am asking you to vote NO on this bill, and I would like to share my concerns about HR 5937 with you.

  • While at first blush it seems like this bill can do no harm, at its core it focuses on women as objects, who, without filled bras, are incomplete. It assumes that women cannot seek out their own information, and that their doctors are not doing their jobs.
  • Poverty is already a known risk factor in cancer. Are we truly asking doctors of low-income/unemployed patients to sit and explain all the options they can’t possibly afford? Or are we planning to ensure that every woman, and man, will be given access to the panoply of options (perhaps ASPS will set up a fund?)
  • This bill is backed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Are they truly strong enough to leverage Congress in order to line their pockets? If, in fact, women are not being informed of their reconstructive options, then ASPS should be working with the professional organizations of their colleagues to adapt the standard of care.

This is an easy bandwagon to jump on. I appreciate that it will play well back in the district in an election year, as long as no one pays attention to the bill itself. However, I trust you to have greater respect for the women you represent than to allow this objectifying, money-grabbing bill to harness the power of the United States Congress! We need REAL change in breast cancer and this is a waste of our efforts, time being our only true non-renewable commodity!

Thank you for your consideration,

Your VOTING Constituent

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27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rann Patterson
    Jun 23, 2012 @ 14:07:00

    This is very “deceptive” politics. This would enamour the general public, and that’s probably what they are counting on. If you will notice the words “cancer” and “oncology” are not in either American Society of Plastic Surgeons, or Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day.

    There is a huge and growing population of healthy women (many teenage girls) who get their breasts “enhanced” all the time, for vain purposes. I think we all know somebody. It’s a huge money-making business (and that’s those people’s right).

    However, it has absolutely NO place in the realm of breast cancer, period. It must be kept separate.

    In this election year along with the “destruction” of healthcare, I’m sure many physicians are grasping for straws to stay adrift, and honestly I feel for the really good doctors caught up in the middle of all this. But this legislation is skewed.

    Great post & letter! Thanks:)

    Reply

  2. Jan Baird Hasak
    Jun 24, 2012 @ 12:22:31

    I love your letter to Congress. This truly is insulting and must be countered with rational discussion. The BRA acrynym is as perjorative as it is insensitive. xx

    Reply

    • Lori
      Jun 25, 2012 @ 15:55:21

      Thanks Jan…officially sent off to Rep. Howard Berman. I don’t imagine this one will make it out of committee, but best to be vocal NOW! The BRA thing: it actually makes me more and more sick each time I think it through. And I believe that plans are already in the works for that!

      Reply

  3. Nancy's Point (@NancysPoint)
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 12:07:30

    Good for you for sending off a letter. There are some troubling components to this proposed bill aren’t there? And BRA Day borders on ridiculous. Thanks for taking action and thanks for mentioning Nancy’s Point.

    Reply

  4. The Accidental Amazon
    Jun 27, 2012 @ 21:07:40

    Excellent, Lori. Will follow suit, believe me. Blogged about this myself, and plan to write a lot more.

    Reply

  5. Eve Wallinga
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 18:39:40

    In researching the progress of HR 5937, I was surprised and disappointed to come across this blog and comments. I was the recipient of incomplete breast reconstruction information prior to my mastectomy 6 years ago. Through plain dumb luck (good and bad), my immediate reconstruction was delayed, and I was able to take a breath, think, and do my own research. I finally found the option that would work best for me – not just what the local plastic surgeon provided or bothered to tell me about. I agree that doctors are not doing their jobs informing women of their reconstructive options, but just asking them to do a better job out of the goodness of their hearts won’t solve the problem. I’m an intelligent women who was thrown into the maelstrom of breast cancer. We don’t always do our clearest thinking under those circumstances and too many of us trust our doctors more than we should. I would have welcomed a clear and fair outline of my options at the time. It is not an insult to women’s intelligence to provide the information as a matter of course – or law. And actually, a lot of plastic surgeons do donate reconstructive surgeries to women without health insurance or on medicare – the reimbursement rates are far beneath the actual costs of the surgery. I am disappointed that anyone would imply that reconstruction after breast cancer is a sign of vanity. Some women decide they want reconstructions and others don’t, but no one else has the right to judge either choice. BRA Day was initiated last year in Canada – a signal that the motivation was not to line doctors’ pockets. As a breast cancer survivor who benefited physically and psychologically from reconstruction, I tell every woman I can about the options available to her. I’ll be supporting BRA Day as well as H.R. 5937.

    Reply

    • Lori
      Jul 30, 2012 @ 19:24:42

      Hi Eve,
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. To begin, and I very sorry for your journey but pleased you found a surgical option that worked for you. I did as well. Up front, and in the interest of full disclosure, I too opted for reconstructive surgery. In fact, I opted for a 13-hour bilateral procedure that included a prophylactic mastectomy. I am, by no means, an opponent of reconstruction.

      I’m sorry you’re disappointed on my view of this legislation, but I do think you may have misread my concerns. As you articulate, it is a deeply personal decision that each woman needs to make for herself. However, I also believe this bill is not about that. There are any number of ways for doctors to ensure patients be given full and explicit information about their reconstructive choices — I simply do not believe that an act of Congress is the best one.

      Thank you again for joining the dialogue!
      Lori

      Reply

  6. Anonymous
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 19:15:03

    I ‘m sorry, but I strongly disagree! I do not know your background, nor your history as far as what has gone on with you medically, but there are thousands of women that would love to have their breasts reconstructed after losing them to breast cancer – and they are NEVER ever given their options. I don’t believe that educating women on their options and rights to have reconstruction is turning them into some kind of “object”. Having had a unilateral mastectomy, then bilateral mastectomies, then losing those due to failure of the tissue expanders and living with one flat side and one concavity, and now with reconstructed breasts using my own tissue – I can tell you I was not looking to be a sex object by having reconstruction. If you lost any other body part due to cancer, I would bet that you would fight like hell to have the right to have it replaced. Whether or not a woman chooses to have reconstruction is entirely her right, but to have that choice made for you by physicians that neglect to inform them of their options is unacceptable. And you can talk all you want about how women should be responsible and inform themselves of all their options, but the bottom line is that man do not. I have met countless women that have no idea what their chemo regimen is… Do you expect them to research a surgery that they do not even know they have the RIGHT to have? As for going into debt for reconstruction, it MUST be covered by insurance if the insurance company also covers mastectomies. And there are many (unfortunately not all) plastic surgeons that will work within a patient’s financial means. In opposing this bill, it feels like you wish that we take two steps back on a woman’s right to reconstruct if that is her desire. Nobody said the bill is there to force women into a decision to reconstruct – just that they must be informed of this decision. So… I strongly disagree with your letter, therefore, as a breast cancer survivor that has lived with as many breast options as there are out there (natural, unilateral, implants, breastless and concave, amd reconstructed with my own tissue) – I will fight hard to have this bill pushed through.

    Reply

    • Lori
      Jul 30, 2012 @ 19:40:50

      Hi,

      I am sorry you don’t feel comfortable sharing any part of your identity, as I do not typically post “anonymous” responses here. I also do not think my breast cancer history has anything to do with my opposition to this bill. Despite your read of my comments, I DO believe in educating women about their choices…it is what I do.

      It is not the legislation, per se, but National BRA Day that objectifies women. Moreover, this bill is not about the RIGHT to have a breast replaced, which I have, in fact, fought for. This is about legislating what happens in a doctor’s office…and once you start that, I am deeply troubled by where it ends. A step backwards? It seems to me that government

      And as for the insurance issues…would that every woman HAD insurance!

      Nonetheless, differences of opinion are what make the world go round…

      Reply

  7. Betsy
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 20:21:51

    I also disagree with your post. I had to do endless hours of research on my own to find out what my reconstructive options were, and thankfully I had time on my side, as I endured months of chemotherapy. I am thankful for BRA day and for the disclosure of options to woman who don’t have the luxury of time. Its about time Congress supported women in their battle with cancer. I feel poorly for women who don’t have all of their options outlined before they make a very important decision, and end up in pain and disfigurement in some cases, which could all be avoided if well educated. And your comment about poor women, and that they shouldn’t have to sit and hear reconstructive options they can’t afford is ludicrous. Some procedures by some doctors may be unattainable, but many doctors will work with their patients so that everyone can get proper treatment. I support the bill and BRA day. And I support Jewel, as the spokeswoman.

    Reply

    • Lori
      Jul 30, 2012 @ 23:15:49

      Thank you, Betsy. I agree that we should all know our options. However, I suspect that if you or I were one of the 10-26% of American women (state by state, according to the National Women’s Law Center) who did not have any insurance coverage, the conversation about expensive reconstructive options would be upsetting, at best. I’d just as soon spend my energy getting those women the coverage they deserve! Moreover, from my time on the Hill, I’d be hard pressed to argue that Congress has done nothing…just not enough.

      I’d love to hear more about how BRA day benefited you!

      Reply

      • Betsy
        Jul 31, 2012 @ 08:00:19

        Lori… You and I will disagree about the uninsured/underinsured and how they would react to hearing options after mastectomy. Not only have I been to a plastic surgeon who accommodates the less fortunate, but I have also raised money to help these same people through the Avon Foundation. I think it is naive of you to think that all plastic surgeons and oncologists will equally spread the word and detail all options to their patients. This is their livlihood and they are unfortunately going to market what they sell. If they only do implants, then that is the procedure they will offer. They will not mention flaps or fat grafting unless you ask them. And if you are newly diagnosed, how would you even know these options exist. BRA Day would help level the playing field, and educate the patient, so that they can choose to have implants, flaps, fat grafting or no recon – their choice, not the plastic surgeon’s choice.

  8. Anonymous
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 21:09:05

    I feel compelled to add my two cents anonymously as well.. Sharing anonymously is not a weakness or something to be criticized – it’s a choice – and I hope I don’t get that same response (above). I am just not convinced I want my name attached to this page. Maybe the previous poster feels the same, I don’t know. I am surprised and a little shocked at this blog. I don’t know why a breast cancer survivor would be fighting so hard on legislation that may help other survivors in their quest to survive this disease and come out on the other side as close to “whole” as possibe. That’s all this legislation is – an attempt to help us all with that goal. If your personal experience is such that you “didn’t need help” or “didn’t want it”, fine … but I do ask you to think about your fellow breast cancer survivors. Many – MANY – (including myself) needed and wanted as much information as possible and were not accurately given reconstruction options. A little help, even a clear and short conversation about all reconstruction options in the midst of the heavy fog of a cancer diagnosis would have been really helpful. On top of trying to decipher treatment for the disease, I felt a huge burden trying to research reconstruction options BY MYSELF after the medical community offered very little. So, I strongly disagree with your letter and the sarcastic way in which it is written (lining the pockets of plastic surgeons?) Information is power. Breast cancer patients need information/power to move forward. I am a two time breast cancer survivor here to say that sarcasm and speaking loudly for the sake of speaking loudly is offensive to me.

    Reply

    • Lori
      Jul 30, 2012 @ 23:28:13

      Your offense that I prefer those who contribute to my blog not hide behind anonymity, aside, I stand by my convection that if you would like to criticize my comments, you can use your first name. I’m not asking for your home address…. Moreover, my comments were not, in any way, sarcastic. I am quite sincere in my opinion that this is about profits. This is, after all, a COMMERCE bill.

      To insinuate that I don’t think about other survivors is beyond insulting and demonstrably untrue. I urge you to read a bit deeper in my blog…note how many survivors I support, the work I do on a local and Federal level to move legislation forward, the time I spend as a consumer advocate for clinical research, and more. Be angry at my options, but please do NOT imply that I don’t care about survivorship. I am a 10-year, 2-time survivor living with metastatic disease; your breast cancer credentials, whatever they may be, to not trump mine.

      I am thrilled that this matters to so many women. I am up on Capitol Hill every chance I get fighting for research dollars to bring an end to this disease. Rather than focus energy on the details of yet another awareness campaign, rather than insinuate ourselves into the doctor-patient relationship, let’s focus on the real work at hand: bringing an end to death by breast cancer.

      Reply

  9. Lori
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 22:41:36

    Despite the contention articulated by some, I am deeply appreciative of the honest, open debate ensuing in this thread. The strength of democracy lies in open disagreement, and I respect the dissenting opinions that have forced me to delve deeper. I will respectfully remind you, however, that this blog is not a democracy. It is my private blog.

    I stand firm in the belief that the United States Congress is NOT the place to dictate particular information be discussed about a woman’s reconstructive options. While I am viscerally opposed to using Congress to promote the agenda of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons whose motive, I believe, is largely economic, this strikes far deeper. Ultimately this is, yet again, an affront to the sacred relationship between doctor and patient – a female patient, no less. It is not, ever, the role of government to position itself within the relationship between a doctor and a patient. Ever. EVER.

    If we allow Congress to decree that a doctor must discuss reconstructive options with a patient, we are just a small step from regulating discussion of any number of topics: birth control and abortion rights being the first obvious issues. Moreover, if the government is permitted to require what is disclosed to a patient by her doctor, can not the government also muzzle a doctor’s counsel and advice? Where does it end?

    I am sorry…debate all you want about how much information women should be fed in regards to reconstruction, but it is not the place of the government to determine that.
    As I imply in my initial post, let the Plastic Surgeons work with the Oncologist to get appropriate information out there. If that doesn’t work, let’s invoke the Justice system; it is malpractice for a doctor to fail to provide appropriate information to a patient.

    But keep the government out of my body.

    Period.

    Reply

  10. Amy Marowitz
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 06:46:27

    I also disagree strongly with your blog. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, and had a mastectomy and implant reconstruction following a somewhat biased presentation of the options by my plastic surgeon. After I experienced problems I had a second reconstruction, a DIEP flap, which I have been very happy with.

    Breast reconstruction is NOT a big money maker for plastic surgeons. And in fact a desire to do the more profitable procedure (implants) appears to be part of the reason women are often given incomplete information. Your argument that this bill is wrong because the uninsured, underinsured and those on Medicaid should be spared knowing about options they may not be able to access financially is one I believe you should examine a bit more closely. As a health care provider myself I strongly support the concepts of “shared decision making.” and “fully informed consent.” This means explaining all options available for a given situation along with the pros and cons of each, and partnering with the patient to come to the best decision for them. It seems rather paternalistic to say women of a certain means should NOT be fully informed. In addition it is simply not true that a given socio-economic status automatically precludes certain options.

    Perhaps the basis for your opinion is a general opposition to any government regulation, I’m not sure. But remember that it is a government regulation that is responsible for the requirement of insurance companies to pay for breast reconstruction following a mastectomy.

    Reply

    • Lori
      Jul 31, 2012 @ 09:30:13

      Thank you for joining the dialogue, Amy and I’m sorry for your experience. I appreciate your view as a health care provider, and I agree that the provider-patient relationship is where information should be exchanged and decisions made. Congress does not need to put itself into that relationship, and most assuredly not on an illness-by-illness, treatment-by-treatment basis.

      As for who should be informed about what procedures, my words have been taken completely out of context – never did I say women of certain means should NOT be informed. In fact, I believe it is high time that all of us, regardless of means, have access the best available medical care. Period. I agree that government regulation is what now requires private insurance companies to provide reconstruction…but that is not this.

      In the spate of comments over the last 24 hours I have read about doctors who were negligent in their disclosure, and others who are revered as heroes for solving problems that others turned away from. Doctors are human and in their humanity, doctors are imperfect; some, in the interest of time or money, some cut corners, some simply make mistakes. I hate that it is the case. However, no one has managed to clarify how this particular legislation is going to change that.

      In the end the doctor-patient relationship is personal, and I don’t want the Federal government involved in mine.

      Reply

  11. Joe Greenberg
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 07:46:07

    I’m going to weigh into a realm that few of my species feel comfortable playing in… women’s health issues. That said, I do think I understand vanity issues (both male and female vanity); and vanity is very real, it’s an important part of our personality and being. I understand that for many women, their breasts are part of their “being” and that they would most likely be offended even at the thought that this is a vanity issue – but that’s what it is. A very real, very important issue in women’s health – regardless if it is something that is a vanity issue, such as facial reconstruction.
    I also understand that there is a danger as our country moves more to a level of socialized medicine (FYI, I’m a big believer in socialized medicine – really) that folks of less means will not have the same access to what we consider health care. In this case, reconstructive surgery as related to mastectomy.
    I’m a believer that if a woman has a personal want for boobs, the way they were prior to treatment (not that they would not be pretty without the enhancement…) – that should be part of the plan. If they don’t want such an “enhancement” post surgery – that is their own damn business; for the women and her doctor to decide.
    As for why I’m weighing in – when folks that are not our doctors start making decisions for our medical care, things can get scary. If you do not mandate this conversation (HR5937) to be had with a women, than you can by default mandate that this conversation is not had; and in my opinion the “null-hypothesis” in this case would not be good for women’s rights. And I happen to really like women…

    Reply

    • Lori
      Jul 31, 2012 @ 08:56:49

      There should be a “like” button around here! I agree we are in very dangerous territory when we mandate the doctor-patient relationship. Thanks for lending your voice, Joe!

      Reply

  12. John Rubiner
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 08:42:48

    Lori

    I agree with your position and people seem to be missing both your points. First, BRA Day is part of the objectification of women. (Would anyone even consider a national jock strap day to support testicular cancer?) Its part of the entire culture of making breast cancer “cute” and “cuddly.” As those of us who have seen our friends and family battle the disease, we know it is neither. These are serious issues and we need to stop talking about awareness and ribbons and focus on research. If the plastic surgeons want a campaign of awareness, they should just do it. Awareness campaigns can be good but they work best when they come up from the grass roots — not coming down from the government. Love them or hate them, Komen as an initially grass roots, privately funded organization has set the gold standard for running awareness campaign, They didn’t need the government’s help to get a pink ribbon on virtually everything.

    Second, Doctors should, of course, present ALL patients with ALL appropriate options for that patient. Medical standards, however, change too fast and dictating what doctors must say — and, presumably, must not say — is wrong. I don’t want either the government or insurance companies dictating standard of care.

    Some posters have challenged your credentials and support for others. Any regular reader of your blog knows you have a deep commitment and caring for all people touched by the disease. Indeed, you have advocated positions that in your particular case would not have been in your best interest because you focus on science and evidence over personal anecdotes. As I said, you put the needs of others over what may be best for you.

    I also agree that while Congress is not a good place to create the standard of care for oncologist, breast surgeons and plastic surgeons, it is good at funding research. Whether its the DoD, NIH or some other vehicle, making sure that our researchers can focus on actually finding the source of cancer (and through that a cure) or cutting edge options (such as new reconstruction techniques or other therapies) is good. I truly appreciate the hard work you and others involved with NBCC do in keeping real breast cancer issues (and not mere symbolism) on the agenda for each and every member of Congress. Keep fighting the good fight.

    John

    Reply

  13. Anonymous
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 08:52:40

    continuing to remain anonymous by choice… I am sad to hear of your diagnosis as I am sad to hear about anyone with breast cancer but this is not a competition (your diagnosis does not trump mine)… what??! I realize this is YOUR blog but every post is filled with more sarcasm and anger in your attempt to write intelligently about your opinions. Additionally to speak of the “poor” in such a condescending way to suggest they shouldn’t hear about things they can’t afford is also offensive. Maybe you should research a little more before throwing out a blanket statement about plastic surgeons. This is not about them and their financial gain. In fact, mine helped put me back together for fraction of what it really cost him to do so. He helped me after all other plastic surgeons in my area told me I had no choices, period. Guess what, I did (but I had to dig way too deep to find them on my own). This is a terrible disease … for all the positive things you claim to have done in the effort to help fight it … what you are doing now is NOT in the interest of breast cancer survivors.

    Reply

    • Lori
      Jul 31, 2012 @ 09:10:56

      Again, while I welcome your voice in the dialogue, nothing I have said here is sarcastic or angry. In fact, I hope your “Maybe you should research a little more…” comment was your own attempt at sarcasm. I always do my homework before I post here, and if you believe that this is an unintelligent conversation then you should not feel required to participate.

      It is also not about any individual experience. As it happens, every single one of us managed to negotiate the world of reconstructive options without the benefit of this bill. Was it harder than it needed to be? Probably. Could it have been made more simple, our knowledge more complete? Yes, I imagine so. However, is THIS the place for CONGRESSIONAL intervention? I stand quite firmly in saying IT IS NOT.

      We could each defend our own doctors endlessly…again, that is not the point of this legislation. Nor, by the way, is whether uninsured women are given a long list of reconstructive options…that is just ONE place where I feel this legislation is NOT designed with the best interest of patients in mind.

      I have no need to compete or legitimate my breast cancer experience. There were a number of posts which insinuated that I couldn’t understand what I was speaking about unless I had cancer. I have…and I still contend that yours is no more valid than mine.

      And finally, you are welcome to your opinion but this is not the place for declarative statements about what is in the “…interest of breast cancer survivors.”

      Reply

      • Eve Wallinga
        Jul 31, 2012 @ 11:57:11

        Lori,
        It seems that you have been very active in breast cancer issues that benefit many women. I thank you for that. But back at the beginning of this sits a blog whose title, you must admit, is a bit sarcastic and insulting of the breast cancer reconstruction awareness movement. That’s where the “B.R.A. Day” title comes from. Some of the women who have posted here, including myself, have spent much time and effort trying to educate women we know and don’t know about the reconstruction options available in this day and age. We’ve also been involved in raising money to help women afford reconstruction who otherwise would not. Many of us have been the victims (or know women who have been the victims) of poor or incomplete reconstruction information given during the difficult period of diagnosis. This has resulted in unnecessary suffering and additional surgeries to correct the damage done by reconstruction procedures that were not right for the women who underwent them or by surgeons who were not qualified to perform them. We only want women to be empowered by more information than they are presently receiving. It sounds as though you were fortunate in having a positive reconstruction experience. That is not the majority outcome, however. I think I hear you saying that it is the method of educating women (via legislation) that you are objecting to. The problem is that, so far, the information is just not getting out to women. Just as the breast cancer awareness movement did get the word out (and we may question some of the methods used), this movement hopes to “close the circle” on breast cancer treatment by letting women know that permanent disfigurement is not a given when confronted with a bc diagnosis. There are too many women who have no idea what advances have been made in this field. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 was a first step in increasing bc survivor’s access to restorative surgery. It started with a grassroots need and has had a significant impact in helping women obtain treatment. The Breast Cancer Education Act of 2012 says that, in addition to having the right to reconstruction after cancer, we also have the right to know what our choices are. I have just a few more comments, and then I’m getting back to my own blog supporting this proposed law. Someone commented that efforts such as these need to be grassroots. This movement has had a grassroots beginning and those roots are still sprouting, as everyday, women who have had both positive and negative recon experiences reach out to other women facing difficult choices regarding bc treatment, which includes reconstruction. The fact that this movement has grown and been picked up by other organizations, including, yes, the ASPS is fantastic, from our point of view. Plastic surgeons have frequently been the most guilty of promoting only the method of breast reconstruction in which they were trained, while neglecting to tell women there are other options. I hope, as survivors and women, we can all come together, rather than fighting with each other about important issues we are all passionate about. Again, Lori, thank you for all you do. P.S. I would love to get this kind of interaction on my blog!

  14. Anonymous
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 09:31:50

    This whole blog is a declarative statement on your part – that this bill is not in our best interests?! So… ? Oh well… this is my final post. I will leave it to the other intelligent, empathetic bc sisters to debate. Peace.

    Reply

  15. Sheri Nordstrom
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 12:13:25

    Lori,
    I am the very first “anonymous” poster to this thread, although it was not intentional as I thought I had linked on through Facebook… alas it is better that I stick with sciences and health rather than technology. I understand your views on not having government involved in your health care. I am normally one who opposes big government and all the “nanny” laws that they like to put in place EXCEPT when it comes to something that can harm others. Things like helmet laws for adult motorcyclists for instance – if they want to go out with a head injury that should be their right. They are hurting themselves only. Yet when it comes to laws that affect others I completely support them – such as regulations against drunk drivers where they are more likely to harm someone else in their drunken state than they are themselves. In the case of a law that requires a physician to tell you ALL of your reconstructive options and rights, I fully support this. And my reason being that there can be (and is) harm done to the patient without it. Women can be emotionally and physically scarred when they are not given their options up front. Yes, you and I, and many other women have found reconstruction that has been satisfactory to us, but we are just a fraction of the women out there that have undergone treatment for mastectomy. To only be offered implants for reconstruction… Or not to be offered reconstruction AT ALL and not to be informed of it (which was my case when I went through treatment) is truly tragic. Do I wish that every surgeon was forthright and ethical, and would do the right thing for each of their patients without concern to how much money might be made? You bet. But unfortunately, you and I know this just does not happen. Yes, we need to be our own advocates, but there are just too many women that just do not know this, do not have the fight to do it on their own or simply are just not educated enough to know that there are other options available than living their lives concave/flat chested. I completely respect a woman’s choice not to reconstruct – but it should be just that – their choice. If a woman is never educated in her options, that freedom of choice is removed. I would never support a bill that mandates reconstruction for everyone, but bills like the Women’s Rights and Cancer Act have made it possible for millions of women to feel restored after the ravages of breast cancer – without it, insurance companies would continue to refuse to pay for reconstruction (and they still do push this law to the limit – I know from experience). I fully support a law that requires MD’s to inform their patients of ALL of their reconstructive options – allowing the patient to know what her/his options are so that they can make an informed decision.

    Reply

  16. Netshirt
    Jul 03, 2013 @ 14:58:24

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    Reply

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