May 27, 2016

Monticciolo Participates in Congressional Breast Cancer Briefing

Debra Monticciolo, MD, FACR, stresses the importance of early breast cancer detection provided by mammography. 

Debra Monticciolo, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Breast Imaging Commission, represented the College May 17 at a Congressional briefing hosted by the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

The purpose of the briefing was to encourage Congress and the Obama Administration to fund and implement provisions of the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act of 2015 so women will understand their options for breast reconstruction options at the time their breast cancer is diagnosed.

Monticciolo stressed the importance of early detection through breast imaging to expand treatment options and improve the patient’s chances for full recovery. She described shortcomings of the flawed breast cancer screening recommendations from the U.S. Preventives Services Task Force noting that most women who understand the potential benefits and maximum risks of mammography will opt for annual mammography screening beginning at age 40.

“Breast cancer is a serious concern for all women, but early detection and information on treatment options are powerful weapons for the best outcome,” Monticciolo said. “It is extremely important that women have access to thorough and understandable information about their reconstructive rights.”

The bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Education Act (BCPCA), was passed by Congress and signed into law as part of omnibus spending legislation in December 2015. The education campaign mandated by BCPCA will inform women that breast reconstruction is possible at the time of mastectomy or after treatment is completed. For women who choose not to have reconstruction, it informs them that prostheses or breast forms are covered options. Since passage of the Women’s Health Care and Cancer Rights Act in 1998, health plans that offer breast cancer coverage are required to provide coverage for breast reconstruction and prostheses.