3D Mammography Bill Headed To Governor’s Desk

The Senate voted unanimously Wednesday night to send a bill requiring private insurance companies to cover 3D mammography to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s desk. Sen. Joe Crisco, D-Woodbridge, whose wife is currently going through breast cancer treatments, fought back tears as he talked about how his wife had annual mammograms and checkups every four months, and yet has been fighting breast cancer for two months now. “Chemotherapy treatments, surgery, and now she faces 12 sessions of radiation,” Crisco said. “This new technology is offering new opportunities for physicians to diagnose breast cancer in women and provide life saving treatments earlier than ever.”

To read the full story by Christine Stuart of ctnewsjunkie.com click here.

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Let’s Keep Politicians Out Of Reproductive Health Choices

Several times every month, protesters come to the New Haven Planned Parenthood of Southern New England office to hold signs and pray the rosary. Planned Parenthood serves about 64,000 Connecticut patients a year, though according to a recent annual report, abortions are only about six percent of its services. Most of the services revolve around providing contraceptive services and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Last month, the federal Food and Drug Administration eased restrictions on the so-called abortion pill, also known as RU-486. The new rules allow women to use the drug later in their pregnancies with less visits to the doctor.

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Legislative Proposal Aims To Stem Suicides Of Women Vets

A study showing that women veterans commit suicide at six times the rate of civilian women has prompted U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and colleagues to propose legislation requiring the VA to develop gender-specific suicide prevention programs.

The “Female Veterans Suicide Prevention Act” would expand the Department of Veterans Affairs’ annual evaluation of mental health and suicide-prevention programs to include data specific to female veterans. The act also would require the VA to determine which programs are the most effective for female veterans. “With suicide among women veterans happening at an alarming rate, (the proposed bill) will help save lives by ensuring VA is providing the care, counseling and outreach these veterans need,” Blumenthal said. Co-sponsors include Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

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New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Rekindle Rage, Debate

When the American Cancer Society announced new guidelines for mammograms a week ago, the response on the organization’s Facebook page was swift. “For adoptees, this just adds 5 more years of potential unknowing,” wrote Angela from Connecticut. “Without a medical history, we are denied mammograms through insurance carriers.”

And then Dr. Henry Jacobs, a Hartford area longtime OB-GYN who, among other duties, serves as the Connecticut State Medical Society president, took to Facebook, too, and posted a message that summarized the general rage: “It is clear that rationing care is the new sales pitch and sacrificing women that could live out their lives is considered acceptable. I think it is UNCONSCIONABLE!!!!!!! We can afford athletes, entertainers, CEOs, hedge fund scammers that make upwards of a 100 million $$$$$ a year, but we can’t provide decent medical care to people???

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Women interviewed said they wanted to feel a connection to their PCP.

Are OB-GYN Well Visits Short-Changing Women?

During their childbearing years, many women view their obstetrician-gynecologists as primary care physicians, seeing them for preventive health care as well as for reproductive-related issues. Several studies, including one published in 2014 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), indicate that women may be shortchanging themselves by consulting only an OB-GYN for preventive health care visits. The national study of 63 million preventive health visits by non-pregnant women found that those “of reproductive age who see OB-GYNs only for preventive care may not be receiving the full spectrum of recommended screening and counseling.”

A number of Connecticut OB-GYNs and other women’s health care specialists said, however, that they are aware of the unique role they play, and that they make a point of addressing patients’ broader needs, especially when meeting a new patient. These needs vary, of course, depending on a woman’s lifestyle, risk factors and age. “If you’re young, in your 20s, don’t smoke and are healthy, you’re very low risk,” said Dr. Susan Richman, a Branford OB-GYN.   “What [those patients may] have is very treatable, and I’m comfortable treating them.”

The JAMA study of “well-woman” visits from 2007 to 2010 showed that while OB-GYNs generally screened for cervical and breast cancers, chlamydia and osteoporosis, general practitioners more often screened for colorectal cancer, cholesterol counts and diabetes.

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An Ode To Obamacare And Preventive Health Services

In Hartford around the time of the Revolutionary War, one Dr. William Jepson owned a home near where South Church stands now. The doctor was better known as an apothecary, as a nod to his main function of dispensing medicine, but for the most part in those days health care was delivered by the women of the family. Only when herbs and home remedies didn’t work were “bone-setters,” or surgeons and physicians such as Jepson, summoned. Treatment might involve bloodletting, which is exactly as it sounds. Preventive care—the standard for today’s medicine—has a spotty history in this country.

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Age Limit On Infertility Coverage Lifted

For the first time, all Connecticut health insurance companies will be required to cover infertility treatment for people age 40 and older. The state’s Insurance Department said that failure to provide the coverage constitutes age discrimination in violation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new requirement takes effect Jan. 1. “Limits to coverage that are discriminatory run counter to the clear intent of the Affordable Care Act and we must ensure that our state laws and guidelines are compliant,” said state Insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade.

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Calcium Poses No Increased Risk Of Cardiac Ailments In Women

Despite studies that may have turned off older women from taking calcium supplements, experts and new findings say there is no increased risk of having cardiovascular problems – if women communicate with their doctors and take the supplements properly. “I don’t think women should be overly concerned about taking calcium supplements in the recommended doses,” said Dr. Jaime Gerber, an associate clinical professor of medicine and clinician in the cardiology department at the Yale School of Medicine. There is “no real clear indication” that taking calcium supplements heightens people’s risk for cardiac ailments, he said. Traditionally, many women – particularly those who are approaching menopause or who are post-menopausal – have taken calcium supplements in an effort to ward off osteoporosis, a disease that reduces bone density and affects women more commonly than men. About 54 million people in the United States are affected by osteoporosis and low bone mass, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and that number is expected to jump to 64.4 million by 2020.

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Connecticut Among The Best States For Women To Live

If you’re a woman, Connecticut is not a bad place to be. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) released a report last month that examined the status of women by state. Overall, Minnesota was named the best place for women because of that state’s policies around issues such as reproductive rights, employment, poverty, and health. Three states – Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont – tied for second. Even better news?

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Yale: Taking More Breast Tissue Reduces Need For Second Surgery

Breast cancer patients who have additional tissue removed during a partial mastectomy are half as likely to need a second surgery, according to a Yale Cancer Center study released today. The study could have a major impact on thousands of patients, sparing them a second operation, according to researchers. “No one likes going back to the operating room, especially not the patients who face the emotional burden of another surgery,” said Dr. Anees Chagpar, the study’s lead author, associate professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine and director of The Breast Center, Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Nearly 300,000 women nationwide are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Most of them have early stages of the disease, and more than half of those undergo partial mastectomies to remove the cancer, Chagpar said.

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