Reporting Cindy Hsu
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NEW YORK (CBS 2) – As Breast Cancer Awareness Month continues, a new law is about to go into effect in New York that will help patients make the best decision with all their post-surgery options.
A new law passed that will require hospitals to give women undergoing mastectomies all their options when it comes to reconstructive surgery, CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reports.
State Senator Malcolm Smith (D) said there’s a huge disparity on what information and treatment women are getting depending on their health coverage.
“You have 11 percent of women who are on Medicare who are actually getting the reconstructive surgery and the information as opposed to managed care. It’s up to 54 percent,” Smith said.
The new law also requires doctors to let patients know where they can get reconstructive surgery.
“There’s now dearly a dozen various breast reconstruction help that’s available to the patient,” Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh of the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group said.
Now, breast cancer survivor Leslie Reid knows that other victims of the deadly disease will have more hope once they come out of surgery.
“You wake up in the hospital, and you’ve had a double mastectomy, it’s like a wall hit you,” said Reid, who was diagnosed two years ago. “I just felt there wasn’t enough information given to me so I just sat in front of my computer and googled every possible option that I had.”
Ivis Febus-Sampavo, a 17-year breast cancer survivor, said that many women in low-income and minority communities that slip through the cracks will get a chance to have their questions answered.
“If you speak Spanish, imagine being diagnosed with breast cancer, you go through that shock and then you don’t realize what your options are, you may not ask the right questions you may not feel you have the right to ask these questions,” said Febus-Sampavo, who works for Latina SHARE, a New York City-group that raises breast cancer awareness for Latina communities.
The new law puts hospitals on notice and will empower women to know they’re entitled to answers and options, she added.
The new law will go into effect Jan. 1
New Jersey and Connecticut also have legislation aimed at giving women the information and time they need to make informed decisions on breast cancer treatment options.