LifetimeStop Drive-through Mastectomies
U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) and Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA) and U.S. Representatives Sue Kelly (R-NY) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2005
. As part of the network's Stop Breast Cancer for Life advocacy campaign, Lifetime has been working to pass this legislation since 1996 and now has collected more than 10 million petition signatures from viewers who have showed support for Congress to pass this bill. The bill's protections for those facing breast cancer include:
A second opinion. This bill assures a patient of a second opinion for any cancer diagnosis. A cancer diagnosis must be reliable.
Inpatient coverage. The bill ensures that a health care provider cannot limit hospital stays for a mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery to less than 48 hours, and also assures a 24-hour stay for lymph node dissection.
Support for lumpectomy treatment. This bill requires coverage for radiation therapy for patients undergoing lumpectomy. Together with the assurance of inpatient care, this act removes the economic incentive for a woman to select mastectomy simply to reduce the immediate cost of treatment.
While both medical and nursing associations believe that most patients require a longer hospital stay, "drive-through" mastectomies have become an unwelcome reality for women who are battling breast cancer. Against the advice of their doctors, women must leave the hospital while still in pain, groggy with anesthesia and with drainage tubes still in place.
The legislation is supported by the American Medical Association; American College of Surgeons; American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons; Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; National Council of Jewish Women; Society for the Advancement of Women's Health Research; Susan G. Komen Foundation; Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization; and Families USA.