**Update** My dad is doing well. He was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon and will be staying with us for awhile. JS ******************************************************************************
Well Governor Brown really stepped in it this time. In his haste to go through all of the remaining Senate bills on his desk before last Sundays deadline, he vetoed one bill that perhaps he should have thought twice about before making a decision. The bill I’m referring to is Senate Bill 791 Comprehensive Breast Tissue Screening.
Currently Federal law requires radiologist’s performing mammograms to send a report of findings to the referring physician that includes breast density. They are also required to inform the patient in writing of the results of the mammogram within a certain time period. SB 791 would have required radiologist to include information regarding breast density to patients as well.
So what’s the big deal? Well, women with high density breast tissue which has less fat, have a greater risk of breast cancer, while low density tissue lowers it. It makes sense to me that knowing about their breast density would be a very big deal for women. Brown however believes that information on breast density would create unnecessary anxiety for women. Weak, Jerry, very weak.
Sure, after some phone calls and a little discussion, a few more calls, Brown drops the big VETO stamp on the bill and dropped it in on the rejected pile. His job done. Sorry Jerry, a bill that could mean the difference between life and death for thousands of women will not go away quietly, no way. Women have a right to know information of this magnitude.
The bill was opposed by many high level groups including the California Medical Association, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, So Cal Medical Oncology Association and the Assoc. of Northern CA Oncologists. All urged Brown to veto the bill and apparently he listened. Their reasoning was that passage of the bill would lead to thousands, perhaps millions of women believing that their mammograms are inaccurate and unreliable and they they would claim the need for further, more expensive screenings. This in turn would cause considerable cost increases and greatly impact state funded programs. So when all is said and done, the bottom line is that it’s a money issue. Shoud have known.
The American Medical Association Code of Ethics states that “Withholding medical information from patients without their knowledge or consent is ethically unacceptable.”h What it comes down to is a woman’s basic right to know her breast density,information that could possibly save her live. How many more woman will have to be diagnosed with breast cancer and die before things change. Sorry Jerry, this time I think you really goofed!
My wife is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in November of 2004 and began chemotherapy the following month. After eight treatments she underwent a mastectomy of her left breast. Following the surgery we learned that 10 of her 12 lymph nodes were cancerous. She then entered City of Hope for a 21 day stay where she underwent stem cell therapy. That was followed by several weeks of radiation, then reconstruction. She’s been cancer free for over six years now.
My wife is one of those women with high density breast tissue. Six months before being diagnosed she went in for a routine mammogram. She was called back in a week later for a follow up when her test revealed a questionable shadow on her left breast. The result of the second test were said to be normal. She had been told that her breast tissue was high density. Then in November she discovered a lump in her left breast. She had another mammogram done and the following week a biopsy was performed on 11/10/04 our 31st anniversary. I will never forget that day.
When we got home that evening there was a card in the mail from the radiology department who had done the mammogram. The card said her results were normal. Unbelievable! A few days later we were informed that the biopsy showed she did indeed have breast cancer. The mammogram had failed to detect the lump! If my wife had received an ultrasound six months earlier instead of the second mammogram, there is the possibility that her cancer may have been detected then, before it spread to her lymph nodes and much of what she was forced to go through could have been averted. But she was one of the lucky ones. She’s still alive.
High density breast tissue can mask the results of normal mammograms. Women who fall into this category should receive the benefit of the doubt and be given ultrasound exams. It should be routine irregardless of the cost. Come on Jerry! In this instance let’s worry about saving lives, not money. Sure the state is cash strapped and looking for ways to save, but let’s not short-change women. They deserve to know about their breast tissue and take any and all precautions necessary to ensure their health.
You screwed up big time this time ‘Moonbeam’! Wait! Do you hear that Jerry? That banging sound over and over again? Well that’s the sound of the women who once supported you slamming the door on you buddy! You’ve lost them, thousands upon thousands of women who just want the fair shake they deserve. Their lives could depend on it…