Breast cancer bill would mandate women learn about options before surgery

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by Wendy Rigby / KENS 5

kens5.com

Posted on January 27, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 12:39 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- A bill before state lawmakers is designed to protect breast cancer patients. It would mandate that women be told about all their surgical options before they ever go under the knife.

A breast cancer diagnosis can be scary. The tendency is to want to get it out as soon as possible. Now, one state lawmaker wants to make sure Texas women are making the best decisions for their health.
 
When faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer, women have a lot of options. They can choose a lumpectomy which only removes a section of their breast or a mastectomy to remove both. They can also have their breasts reconstructed at the same time. But only about 30% of patients know about that option.
 
34-year-old Karrie Simpson of Helotes wishes she had been told of her options. She ended up having three different procedures, but it could have been fewer if she had been presented with a choice.
 
“I don’t want anybody else to have to go through what I did,” Simpson commented. “Not that I’m scarred for life from it, but it would sure be nice if I would have had that option.”
 
“There are just too many women out there that are not getting the information they need about their options,” said patient advocate Chrissy Guerra of PMRA Plastic Surgery of San Antonio.
 
Enter House Bill 669 by State Representative James White. If passed, it would mandate doctors inform their patients of their options for breast reconstruction before they have any operations.
 
PRMA Plastic Surgery is one of the physician practices supporting the bill. But the author of the legislation expects a groundswell of support from women statewide.
 
“Breast cancer is scary,” Simpson stated. “There are a lot of women out there who even though a mastectomy might not be the choice for them, they need to know all their options.”
 
“I think the chances are really good,” Guerra stressed. “The more support we can rally for it, the better.”
 
New York State has recently passed a similar bill.

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