VANCOUVER - A Vancouver doctor is trying to pass a bill that would require physicians to provide information to patients.
House Bill 1101 would make it law for doctors to inform patients of their rights after they lose their breasts to cancer.
New York passed a similar law last year, then New Mexico this year. Opponents say education doesn't have to translate into legislation.
"For me, it was so important to know what my options were ahead of time." Krista Colvin, 44, is a mother of two and a cancer survivor who lost both of her breasts to cancer. "To have a knowledgeable doctors share information with you is incredibly important. I can't believe that this isn't in the chain of command, that someone hasn't stepped up to the plate and said, 'OK, this is my responsibility,' " said Colvin.
She said she's worried that other women may not be informed that aside from a deductible breast reconstruction after one or more of your breasts are removed is insured. It's the law.
Doctor Allen Gabriel is a reconstructive surgeon who wanted to take that law one step further. He's been working since January to pass a Washington state law that would require doctors to inform patients about reconstructive rights, because many don't know.
"We've been seeing an increasing number that haven't been informed about their options,' he said.
"If I had not met with a reconstructive surgeon ahead of time and said, 'okay - this is my option, this is what I can do, this is how it's going to come out, I would have chosen a different option that didn't have as good of a long-term outcome," said another breast cancer survivor Julie Payne.
Right now, House Bill 1101 is in a holding pattern. There's no need for a law, some opponents said, to require doctors to provide the information.
The Washington State Medical Association said it does "not like to support legislation that puts the standards of practice into state law." They said it's "best to create an education campaign."
"I truly feel that women deserve more than a medical Google search to make their medical decisions and to have good medical care as well as good doctors that will inform you what your options are. It's priceless," said Colvin.
Gabriel said he agrees with the education campaign and is working with those opposed to this bill to make a website informing patients. He said the legislation might still be needed down the road.
Planners are hoping to launch that website: myReconstructionRights.org on October 1st.