Bill includes mastectomy

Friday, October 31, 2008

HOUSTON--Homemade breast forms would be a thing of the past if a bill that requires better insurance coverage for post-mastectomy devices becomes law.

S.B. 3517, The Prosthetic Parity Act of 2008, is a companion bill to a bill introduced in the House of Representatives in March. It includes breast forms.
“We have been seeing the same trend in mastectomy that we have seen over the years for limb prosthetics,” said Rhonda Turner, president of the American Association of Breast Care Professionals (AABCP). “The devices are often restricted to one-per-lifetime caps or one every five years. Custom breast forms are not covered at all.”

Without appropriate coverage, women may go without or opt for makeshift solutions, she said.

“They come in with forms they’ve had for 10 years,” said Turner. “I’ve seen women come in with homemade forms that are inappropriate.”

It’s not just about aesthetics, said Turner. Women who go without proper devices can suffer physical consequences, she said.

“We are symmetrical creatures,” she said. “If you are missing something, you can have back and joint problems, migraines, teeth and jaw problems. You can have problems with lymphedema. It causes issues that go well beyond looking nice in a T-shirt.”

AABCP planned to launch a campaign in mid-October to encourage providers and breast cancer survivors to contact their lawmakers and ask them to support the bills.