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Lifetime Television Leads Effort to End 'Drive-Through Mastectomies' as U.S. Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act is Reintroduced (dateline April 28, 2007)

For a decade, Lifetime Television has been gathering signatures in an effort to help end "drive through mastectomies." To try to reduce the cost of inpatient healthcare costs, many insurance companies have been requiring that breast cancer patients be released from the hospital soon after their breasts are removed, sometimes within hours of the procedure. Lifetime, along with several consumer organizations and breast cancer survivors, feel strongly that women need adequate in-hospital care after major surgeries such as mastectomy.

According to Lifetime, in February 2007, U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) and Mary L. Landrieu (Lousianna) and U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut) re-introduced The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, which they also sponsored in 2005. The legislation would ensure the option of a minimum 48-hour hospital stay after a mastectomy. Any decision on a shorter or longer stay would be made by the patient and her physician.

"We are renewing our effort today to ensure that the millions of American women diagnosed with breast cancer each year know they will receive the care they need and deserve," said Senator Snowe, in a statement on Lifetime's website. "Guaranteeing that women have the option of remaining in the hospital for up to 48 hours following a mastectomy provides both the patient and the doctor with piece of mind and the time to make appropriate treatment decisions. It is inexplicable that the Congress has not taken action to ensure this basic right to adequate treatment, and I urge my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to enact this legislation immediately."

Lifetime has been gathering signatures to obtain support for ending drive-through mastectomies for 10 years now. To date, its award-winning campaign, Stop Breast Cancer for Life, has gathered more than 14 millions signatures on its online petition to end drive-through mastectomies.

In the 1990s, the U.S. government prohibited Medicare patients from receiving drive-through mastectomies. However, insurance companies still have the authority to interfere with doctors' recommendations and require shorter hospital stays. The new legislation would be aimed at ending this practice.

"Lifetime is proud to stand with Senators Snowe and Landrieu and Representative DeLauro on this important issue that allows women and doctors the ability to decide when women are ready to go home following major breast cancer surgery. Our viewers have been calling for this legislation to be passed for more than ten years - it's time for Congress to act," said Meredith Wagner, Executive Vice President, Lifetime Entertainment Services and founder of the network's Stop Breast Cancer for Life campaign, in a statement on Lifetime's website.

To learn more about Lifetime's effort to end drive-through mastectomies or to sign the petition, please visit