City of Vancouver Declares BRAVE Day|
—Breast Reconstruction Advocacy Victory Event (BRAVE) Promotes Reconstruction Rights—
Acknowledging an estimated 230,430 new cases of invasive breast cancer last year in the U.S. and the reality that too many women are not informed of their legal right to breast reconstruction after mastectomy, The City of Vancouver last night approved a formal proclamation declaring Wednesday, March 21, 2012 as "Breast Reconstruction Advocacy Victory Event" Day or "BRAVE" Day.
The annual BRAVE Day proclamation was conceived by the non-profit Pink Lemonade Foundation to raise awareness about breast reconstruction rights and to highlight important information that all breast cancer patients should receive from their insurance provider as required by federal law. Unfortunately, data show only 40% of women who receive a mastectomy after a breast cancer diagnosis go on to have breast reconstruction.
Pink Lemonade Co-Founder, Allen Gabriel, MD, Chief of Plastic Surgery, PeaceHealth Medical Group, worked to bring the issue to the attention of Washington State Lawmakers during public hearings in Olympia last year. Other states have passed legislation to require patient notification of their rights to breast reconstruction at the time of diagnosis. Early consultation between general surgeons and plastic surgeons can have a significant positive outcome on the final aesthetic outcome for women.
"Leadership of the Pink Lemonade Project recognizes that breast cancer survival is much more than the healing of surgery stitches. I commend Dr. Allen Gabriel and the Board Members of the Pink Lemonade Project for their endeavor to address the healing of mind, body and spirit through educational support and emotional healing," said Tim Leavitt, Mayor, City of Vancouver.
"Being given the option of reconstruction at the time of my mastectomy made my surgical treatment decision simple. I knew that having a mastectomy was a road to health and my reconstruction was a road to normalcy," said Dana Webb, a Vancouver breast reconstruction patient.
"Our goal is to bring attention to the advocacy efforts that are needed to counteract the lack of meaningful legislation targeting breast reconstruction rights," said Dr. Allen Gabriel, MD.
BRAVE Day Events and Activities (Open House Hours are 8:30am to 5pm)
PeaceHealth Medical Group Plastic Surgery Office, 505 NE 87th Ave, Suite 250 (Bldg. A) Vancouver, WA
11:30-Noon: Proclamation presentation by Tim Leavitt, Mayor, City of Vancouver; and Allen Gabriel, MD, Chief of Plastic Surgery, PeaceHealth Medical Group; Courtney Peebles, Miss Vancouver; Kaitlan Endres, Miss Southern Gem.
11am-1pm: Physical therapist Joyce Masters, PT, will also offer exercise demonstrations
- Raffle for SkinCeuticals skin care kits
- Amazing gift bags & BRAVE Day bracelets giveaways (limited supply)
- Various breast reconstruction vendor displays
- Fun photo booth
- "Wall of the Brave" bra design table
- Delicious food & pink lemonade
"Even though I had breast cancer I don’t need to be reminded of it every day by not having reconstruction. I couldn’t imagine how my self-esteem would have been affected if I had not had reconstruction. It seems a bit inhumane to not have that option," said Trudy Anderson, Lake Oswego breast reconstruction patient.
Local Business Support for BRAVE Day
"We would like everyone to wear pink on March 21 to help us celebrate BRAVE Day," said Dr. Brinda Thimmappa, MD, PeaceHealth Medical Group Plastic Surgery.
A number of local business and groups are supporting BRAVE Day by encouraging their employees and customers to wear pink on March 21st. Key supporting organizations and businesses in the Portland/Vancouver area include Waste Connections, Alaska Airlines, Audiology Clinic, Inc., the Heathman Lodge and Hudson's Bar and Grill, LifeCell, 8th Floor Surgical Unit, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, Shanahan's, Atrium Lounge, Garside Florist, and Compass Oncology. The sale of BRAVE Day inspired bracelets also benefits the Pink Lemonade Foundation.
Alaska Airlines flight attendants and customer service agents are expected to wear pink BRAVE Day bracelets on all flights across the United States on March 21st. Large "BRAVE Day" banners will hang near check-in counters in airline hub cities that serve Alaska Airlines, such as Anchorage; Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles.
Federal Law and Breast Reconstruction
Under the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998, group health plans, insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offering mastectomy coverage also must provide coverage for certain reconstructive services relating to the mastectomy; and must provide women with a notice of these rights upon enrollment and at least once each year. However, data supports that less than 40 percent of patients are referred for breast reconstruction.
Pink Lemonade's mission is to provide breast cancer patients and their families with education and support opportunities that offer hope and healing for the mind, body and spirit. Through funds raised, they provide retreats, educational programs and support of breast cancer patients. For more information, please go to www.PinkLemonadeProject.org.
BRAVE Day Facts:
- Approximately 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
- In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 57,650 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer
- While WHCRA requires group health plans, insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offering mastectomy coverage to provide women with a notice of these rights when they enroll in the health plan, and then once each year, data supports that less than 40 percent of patients are referred for breast reconstruction
- There is no current legislation in most states, including Washington or Oregon, requiring patients to be reminded of these rights at the time of diagnosis
For information, visit www.BraveDay.org or go to www.pinklemonadeproject.org or www.myreconstructionrights.org.
PeaceHealth Medical Group
PeaceHealth Medical Group providers in Clark and Cowlitz counties are closely aligned with PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview. As part of the larger PeaceHealth family, PeaceHealth Medical Group (PHMG) is made up of more than 820 physicians and allied health providers and 2,000 caregivers across three states (Alaska, Washington, and Oregon). PHMG providers practice in more than 40 specialties and subspecialties in PeaceHealth inpatient settings and more than 50 outpatient sites.