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New Bill Promoting Breast Cancer Education Introduced

New bill would make it mandatory to inform patients about their post-op options.

New legislation introduced in the House of Representatives, if passed, will make knowing your options as a breast cancer survivor a lot easier. Quite simply, it could become the law to make you aware of your options after surgery.

The Breast Cancer Patient Education Act (H.R. 5937) would require the Department of Health an Human Services (HHS) to disclose, at the time of mastectomy surgery, the options for reconstruction available to her. These include knowing she can have reconstructive surgery during the same operation, or she can choose to wait until cancer treatment is complete.

She would also be told that federal law mandates breast reconstruction coverage, for both immediate reconstruction, or delayed until later.

This coverage has been part of health plans since 1998, but only 33 per cent of women undergo such reconstructive surgery. Well, research has shown almost 70 per cent of breast cancer patients aren’t made aware of their options. Other women hadn’t undergone reconstruction because they were not referred to a plastic surgeon at any point.

Many states have already made laws necessitating the dispersal of proper information to their patients, but this bill could make this practice spread on a much larger scale.

“Knowledge is power,” says Dr. Malcolm Roth, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “Federal law has long required coverage for reconstruction and prostheses – and no woman should be denied the right to choose the care they need, just because they weren’t aware of their choices.”

Be reminded that Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, or BRA Day, is on the horizon. On October 17, singer-songwriter Jewel will spearhead the initiative to promote breast reconstruction awareness and education across the globe.

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