Exciting news: on December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act which mandates the implementation of an educational campaign for patients and health providers about the availability and coverage of breast reconstruction and other post-mastectomy alternatives.
What is the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act
The Breast Cancer Patient Education Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to plan and implement an education campaign to inform breast cancer patients about the availability and coverage of breast reconstruction and other available post-mastectomy alternatives. These educational materials will inform women of their right to breast reconstruction under federal law and provide women with information about when breast reconstruction or prostheses may be appropriate within their recovery plan.
In 2016, an estimated 230,000 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States; a mastectomy (surgical removal of the entire breast) is often required as lifesaving breast cancer treatment. When performed without subsequent breast reconstruction, this procedure leaves the patient without breast(s), and can cause body image issues and lack of self-esteem.
Since 1998, insurance carriers who provide breast cancer treatment coverage have been required by the government to cover breast reconstruction surgery and prostheses, and only one in five elect to undergo the procedure. Unfortunately, despite this mandate, over 50 percent of mastectomy patients are never offered, nor undergo breast reconstruction.
Woman diagnosed with breast cancer can be confused and frightened. They depend upon their physicians to guide them through the treatment process. Unfortunately, many doctors fail to recognize the physical and psychological importance of breast reconstruction and/or are ignorant of the law providing insurance coverage.
This new legislation helps guarantee both patients and their caregivers understand and discuss all breast cancer treatment options available, because ALL women with breast cancer deserve the best, most appropriate care possible.
The breast cancer doctors and staff at our Los Angeles Breast Care Center, pride themselves on leading the charge on this from the start, even before it was made into law, by always discussing with patients the potentially life improving breast reconstruction surgeries that are available. Keeping our patients informed about all of the breast cancer treatment options available to them and making sure no one leaves uninformed. Contact Bedford Breast Center to discuss your treatment options by calling (424) 202-3753 today!