Lufkin woman lobbies for breast cancer patients - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Lufkin woman lobbies for breast cancer patients

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Tammy Carrington of Lufkin receives physical rehabilitation in Nacogdoches following a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery that she received in San Antonio. She doesn't mind the travel when it comes to getting the procedures and care she wants for herself.

When Carrington was diagnosed in 2009 she says she was given few options by a local doctor. "I was given two choices. Lumpectomy with radiation or mastectomy with one breast," shared Carrington.

Carrington didn't want either. Instead, she opted to have both breasts removed, followed by reconstructive surgery. The surgery occurred immediately after the mastectomy. "And I was able to do the reconstruction using my own tissue from my tummy," said Carrington.

The woman, who thrives on seeking information before any important decision, learned about the procedure through her own research. Along the way she discovered the majority of breast cancer patients are unaware of their options.

" It's sad. It's very, very sad that only 30% of women are even informed of what their reconstructive options might be," said Carrington in reference to surveys conducted by plastic surgeons.

Carrington found a law in New York that mandates all breast cancer patients be informed of reconstructive options well in advance of surgery. She wants a similar law for Texans.

"It's not mandating any particular treatment. It's not mandating any surgery. It's just mandating education," said Carrington. "It promotes good conversation between a woman and her doctor when she is supplied with something as simple as a list of options that are out there."

Carrington sought out Representative James White shortly after his election, encouraging him to draft proposals. Texas House Bill 669 was submitted January 14.

Now Texas women must show their support. Carrington has received media attention in San Antonio and now in East Texas. Her surgeon team is helping get the word out at www.prma-enhance.com/documents/proposed%20texas%20legislation%20for%20breast%20cancer%20patients.pdf  

Carrington chose the most radical form of surgery for an unselfish reason. She's the mother of a special needs child. "I must out live my child," said Carrington.

She successfully got changes in the Medicaid Law thru legislation named after her child, Jonathan.

Tammy says breast cancer legislation is just as important. " I have a passion in my heart for that and I really, really want to make sure women know what their options are," said Carrington.

Carrington is taking a proactive move on her part. The effort is every bit a part of her therapy as lifting weights, but in the end can help so many more women than just herself.

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