Take Action Home >

Let Women Know Their Options after a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

37,637 signatures toward our 50,000 Goal

75.27% Complete

Sponsor: The Breast Cancer Site

Doctors should be required to inform breast cancer patients of all of their options. Sign the petition now!

A breast cancer diagnosis can present a woman with countless uncertainties. With all of the distress associated with a diagnosis, a woman deserves to know every option that's available to her.

When breast cancer is diagnosed, there are a few treatment methods available. She can have the lump removed (lumpectomy), or she can opt to have one or both breasts removed (mastectomy). An additional option — that many are unaware of — is to have both breasts reconstructed1. If a woman undergoes a mastectomy, but isn't presented with the option to have her breasts reconstructed at the same time, she may have to endure another painful surgical experience2.

Women should know exactly what's accessible to them upon diagnosis so they can make informed decisions about their own treatment.

Under the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA)3, mastectomy benefits from both group and individual insurance plans must cover:

  • Reconstruction of the breast that was removed by mastectomy
  • Surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to make the breasts look symmetrical or balanced after mastectomy
  • Any external breast prostheses (breast forms that fit into your bra) that are needed before or during the reconstruction
  • Any physical complications at all stages of mastectomy, including lymphedema (fluid build-up in the arm and chest on the side of the surgery)

The WHCRA does not allow insurance plans and insurance issuers to penalize doctors or lead them to provide care in a way that does not support the WHCRA. Nor does it allow insurance plans to reward doctors who do not encourage their patients to look into breast reconstruction4.

Help us make sure that women who undergo breast cancer surgery are aware of these options!

Sign the petition today, calling for a law that would require doctors to inform breast cancer patients of all of their options before and after they undergo surgery.

More on this issue:

  1. UpToDate (8 February 2022), "Patient education: Choosing surgical treatment for early-stage breast cancer (The Basics)."
  2. Kathryn Watson, Healthline (3 April 2020), "Can a Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Be Performed at the Same Time?."
  3. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (15 April 2020), "Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA)."
  4. American Cancer Society (13 May 2019), "Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act."
To Top

The Petition:

To the American Hospital Association, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health,

I applaud you for making healthcare a priority. I'd like to draw your attention to an issue that has been cycling through different versions of the same bill for years; doctors aren't always informing their breast cancer patients of all the options available to them upon diagnosis. This needs to change.

Many women do not know that, in addition to lumpectomies and mastectomies, they also have the option to undergo breast reconstruction. Having the opportunity to opt for reconstruction removes much of the stress and time spent associated with undergoing each procedure separately. In this light, otherwise long and arduous surgeries could potentially be minimized greatly.

A woman with breast cancer should be given every opportunity to reduce the stresses and hardships associated with a cancer diagnosis, and doctors should be required to help her do so.

I am writing to ask that you push strongly to make this into law, so that every woman knows the options available to her.


To Top


In 2010, New York enacted a law requiring hospitals to inform breast cancer patients of their reconstruction options. Then Ohio followed suit in January of 2014. We are making progress! Let's keep fighting to make this a requirement for all states!

To Top