Rochester, New York – Governor Kathy Hochul signed new legislation to aid breast cancer survivors during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
If a woman decides to have reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy, the law would ensure that she had the appropriate insurance coverage.
According to Hochul, it’s time for the healthcare system to treat breast cancer survivors with respect and decency.
The last thing anyone wants to think about after dealing with something as terrible as cancer is how to pay for treatment, according to local breast cancer survivor Barb Kabala.
“When you’re going through this situation, you want all the help you can get,” Kabala said. “You don’t need to have any money expenses over your head, too.”
According to studies, around one in eight American women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives.
Many women elect to have a mastectomy to lessen or completely remove their cancer, but this leaves them with the option of reconstructive surgery, which is viewed as “cosmetic” and is often not reimbursed by insurance.
Many women who are battling breast cancer feel they have little control over what will happen next, according to Dr. Anna Weiss, director of breast cancer services at the Wilmot Cancer Institute.
However, this new legislation restores their power.
“Your decision-making around your surgery for breast cancer adds some control back to your journey,” Dr. Weiss said.
According to some medical professionals, the new regulation raises awareness of the true nature of survivors’ aftercare.
“Women do not have to worry about anything else afterwards,” said Dr. Howard Langstein, chief of plastic surgery at URMC. “Of course, if they want to have breast reconstruction or have an aesthetic flat closure, that is still available to them, too. So, the point is about choice that is critical.”
Weiss and Langstein both said that they hoped the new legislation would pave the way for the coverage of other medical procedures.