Category Archives: Breast Cancer Awareness

A Battle that Takes Place Every Day

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Dr. Jill Biden

Lorene Nelson, Dr. Biden, Joy Foster and Tina Tchen after the call in Dr. Bidens office October 15, 2010. (by Chris Smith - HHS)

Today I had the pleasure of co-hosting a conference call with Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to emphasize the importance of early detection and regular screenings.

We were joined on the call by breast cancer survivors, advocates, and various women’s group from across the country. I was especially honored to have two breast cancer survivors, Joy Veronica Foster and Lorene Nelson, join me in my office so they could share their personal stories on the call. Listening to these women, and knowing we were joined by many others on the line was truly inspirational and heartwarming.

Chances are that anyone reading this post has been touched by breast cancer –

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the battle against breast cancer takes place every day, every hour, every 69 seconds as someone’s mother, sister, daughter, and friend loses her life to breast cancer. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but today’s conference call gave me hope. With the ongoing commitment of the Obama-Biden Administration to ensure that affordable and accessible preventive care is a reality, and the many breast cancer advocates, and survivors like Lorene and Joy who are changing lives with their work every day – I know we are moving closer to a breast cancer-free world.

-Jill

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Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Dr. Jill Biden, Health, Kathleen Sebelius (Sec of HHS), Women's Issues

Socialized Medicine Saved Me

Posted by: Betsm

When Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks was diagnosed with cancer overseas, she didn’t hightail it back home, to “the best health care in the world”—she stayed in Australia, home to a humane, rational system.

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Written by Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks

Pulitzer-Prize winner Geraldine Brooks

In 2004, I’d just finished a novel and by way of celebration had taken my family for an extended visit to Australia, where I was born and raised.

I didn’t expect that trip to save my life. But I’m convinced it did, because of Australia’s “socialized” medicine.

I retreat to my garret when I write a novel, especially toward the end. I stop going anyplace, wear sweat pants all day, neglect personal grooming. Back in the Sydney neighborhood where I’d lived for many years, I was re-entering the civilized world, and was on the way to a salon for an overdue haircut when I passed the BreastScreen van, parked in the main street.

This mobile service offers free mammograms, no appointment necessary. It wasn’t until I saw that van that I realized a mammogram was one of the things I’d forgotten to do. I was a year overdue, according to the guidelines for women my age, so I stepped into the van, got squished and zapped by a pleasantly efficient technician, who told me a radiologists’ report would be mailed out in a week or so.

Two weeks later, I was in a Sydney hospital, discussing treatment options for my invasive stage II cancer. According to testimony by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) at last Thursday’s health-care summit, I should have been heading for the airport at that point. Like his unnamed Canadian state premier with the heart condition, I should have been hightailing it to the U.S., to avail myself of “the best health care in the world.”

No thanks, Senator. I elected to stay in Australia. We had ample U.S. insurance; cost wasn’t an issue. I simply wanted to remain in a humane, rational system where doctors treat a person as a patient, not a potential plaintiff, and where the procedures ordered for me were the ones shown by hard science to produce the best outcome for the most people.

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Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Cancer, Health Care Reform, Politics, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Highlight Breast Cancer Awareness

Posted by Audiegrl


breast cancer awarenessmichelleWhiteHouse.gov—Friday afternoon in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, First Lady Michelle Obama donned pink to honor the millions of women and families affected by breast cancer. Speaking to a crowd of survivors, lawmakers, and doctors, the First Lady highlighted the importance of adequate health coverage for those facing the disease. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and these women deserve to battle their disease without the worry of their insurance companies letting them down:

    And this is a disease, as we know, that affects not just those diagnosed with it, and not just those who’ve survived it and those who’ve lost their lives to it, but it is a disease that also affects those who love and know them — which these days seems like almost every single person in this country.

    That’s why it is so critically important that we finally reform our health care system that is causing so much heartache for so many people affected by this disease. Now is the time.

    Fortunately, that’s exactly what the plans being considered by Congress right now would do.

    So just to be clear, under these plans, if you already have insurance that works for you, then you’re all set. You can keep your insurance and you can keep your doctors.

    jillbiden_portrait_fullThe plans put in place some basic rules of the road to protect you from abuses and unfair practices by insurance companies. That would mean no more denying coverage to people like women we heard from today because of so-called preexisting conditions like having survived cancer. Because there’s a belief that if you’ve already fought cancer, you shouldn’t have to also fight with insurance companies to get the coverage that you need at a price that you can afford.

    These plans mean insurance companies will no longer be allowed to cap the amount of coverage that you can get, and will limit how much insurance companies can charge you for out-of-pocket expenses, because in this country, getting sick shouldn’t mean going bankrupt.

    And finally, these plans will require insurance companies to cover basic preventative care — from routine checkups, to mammograms, to pap smears — at no extra charge to you. And though I want to emphasize that in the end, as we all know, it’s our responsibility as women to also talk to our doctors about what screenings that we need and then make the appointments to get those screenings, even when it’s inconvenient or maybe a little bit uncomfortable. It’s something that we owe not just to ourselves but to the people that love us.


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Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Cancer, Health, Politics, Uncategorized, Women's Issues