TMA Supports Education for Breast Cancer Patients

The Honorable Lois Kolkhorst
Texas House of Representatives
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

Re: House Bill 1750 by Rep. Trenton Ashby

Dear Chair Kolkhorst and Members of the Committee:

The Texas Medical Association, representing more than 47,000 physicians and medical students, supports of HB 1750 by Representative Ashby. Our members care for patients with cancer every day and we are strongly invested in ensuring that our patients have timely and accurate information so they can make informed decisions regarding their health.

We agree with Representative Ashby that a woman facing surgery for breast cancer should be informed about appropriate treatment protocols for her specific stage of breast cancer — and, if appropriate, her options for breast reconstruction. This discussion and exchange of information is important before she has any treatment, not breast cancer surgery specifically. HB 1750 fosters that dialogue but isn’t prescriptive about what has to be discussed. This bill language preserves the discretion of the physician regarding what each patient needs and which treatment options to discuss as pertinent to the patient’s diagnosis and stage of disease or current treatment.

Breast cancer is personal. The discussion between a patient and her doctor on options for breast reconstruction is unique and individualized. No two patients or their breast cancer treatment is exactly the same. That’s why before discussing breast reconstructive surgery, physicians first must consider these factors:

  • Age,
  • Overall health and prior medical history or surgeries,
  • Body shape and other factors such as a history of smoking,
  • Diagnosis and stage of the woman’s cancer and whether further cancer treatment is planned, and
  • Whether she wants breast reconstructive surgery immediately, later, or at all.

Every patient considering breast cancer surgery has concerns and complex decisions to make. Breast reconstruction may not be an immediate concern for a woman who has just received a breast cancer diagnosis. Over the course of her breast cancer treatment, a strong relationship develops between the patient and her team of physicians and other health care professionals. This team is critical in the management and coordination of her care.

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