Call to support patient protection legislation following breast cancer

By Whitney Thorpe-Klinsky

As Miss Illinois Teen United States, I am working to increase breast cancer awareness and protect patient rights. A major key in saving lives is early detection, particularly through breast exams and mammograms.

Mammograms can reduce the rate of breast cancer mortality by anywhere from 20 to 35 percent in women, depending on age group. However, studies show that the number of women who have mammograms dropped by almost 2 percent from 2000 to 2005.

Without this essential examination, women are increasing their risk of late detection, and therefore complicating their battles for survival. It is also important to note that this March, Congress reauthorized a program that guarantees breast exams and mammograms for women without medical insurance.

Further Congressional action in support of breast cancer patients includes the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act (found as bills H.R. 758, H.R. 119, and S. 459). If put into law, these bills would require insurance companies to pay for the necessary post-operatory hospital stays of women who undergo surgery for breast cancer.

Without this provision, women can be forced to leave the hospital after a physically and emotionally traumatic surgery, requiring that they perform their own post-operative care.

In order to protect the women of our country, we must all take a stand by writing our local Congressmen and requesting their support of the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act. One phone call, letter, or e-mail can help protect the lives of women nationwide.

Whitney Thorpe-Klinsky

New Baden, Ill.