What have we accomplished since our inception in the Summer of 2018? Quite a bit, we’re happy to report. To support more work like this, share us on social media, donate, or volunteer!
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At the close of 2019, less than two years after her first protest, our President Kimberly Bowles flew to San Antonio, Texas to present NPOAS’ research poster at the world’s premier breast cancer research conference – the research yielded important information to inform patients and providers about the prevalence of flat denial and how to direct future research efforts. It was received positively and was highly effective in engaging attending surgeons and researchers on the topic of aesthetic flat closure.
Publications that Empower Patients
Not Putting on a Shirt collaborates with other organizations to provide printable resources that patients can use at their surgical consult or to spread the word in their local community, and that providers can use in their practice. All publications are medically reviewed. Visit our Publications Page to learn more or to place an order!
As of May 2020, we have over 200 surgeons on the Directory recommended for flat closure at initial mastectomy, explant, and revision. The listings are searchable and are cross-referenced with the popular explant lists online. We perform regular validations of listings. The Directory is a critical tool for patients, both as a stopgap to empower women to protect their choice in the absence of a reliable standard of care for aesthetic flat closure, and as a tool to organize and recognize leading medical professionals who work tirelessly to provide women with surgical results.
Model State Legislation: Vermont Revision Bill H.686
In January 2020, we saw historic buy-in in Vermont from legislators, BCBS-VT, and the financial regulation department, on ensuring insurance coverage for flat revision surgery. The proposed legislation was spearheaded by our stellar legislative advisor Rep. Charen Fegard.
We worked closely together for months to help refine and support Rep. Fegard’s vision for the bill, gather input from stakeholders, and produce visual and informational aids to garner support within the legislature. NPOAS published a “Contact Your Legislators” project page to empower members of the public to take legislative action in their state.
OPBC Includes “Optimal Flat Closure” in Mission Statement
In an important step forward, in April 2020, the Oncoplastic Breast Consortium (OPBC) added “optimal flat closure” to its mission statement, recognizing flat closure as an oncoplastic procedure deserving of an aesthetic surgical approach. NPOAS first reached out to OPBC in February 2020 by joining the organization’s patient advocacy group and entering into discussions about potential mission overlap. We discovered very quickly that OPBC and NPOAS share the same goal – to see oncoplasty become routine in breast cancer care by means of advocacy, research, and promotion of improved, evidence-based standards of care. We were overwhelmed with gratitude when OPBC amended its mission statement to be inclusive of aesthetic flat closure. And we look forward to continuing working with them to promote oncoplastic breast surgery worldwide!
NCI Adds “Aesthetic Flat Closure” to Dictionary
In June 2020, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) added “aesthetic flat closure” to its Dictionary of Cancer Terms, defined as “A type of surgery that is done to rebuild the shape of the chest wall after one or both breasts are removed…” and also describes what the procedure generally entails – removal of excess tissue and contouring to produce a smooth, flat chest wall.
When NPOAS reached out to NCI in January 2020, we had no idea that they’d generate change this quickly. This is a great example of our organization’s approach to getting the job done – one step at a time, reaching out to all possible stakeholders and making the case to each of them in a clear and effective manner. For the NCI Dictionary folks, clear language is their job. They recognized a glaring deficit: there was no term describing this procedure. We made this case plainly to NCI, and were bowled over with their positive and supportive response.
Provider Resources on Flat Closure
NPOAS has developed extensive resources for providers interested in flat closure. Our Provider Resources page includes:
- introductory information pages on flat closure, flat denial, and shared decision-making
- a catalogue of flat closure journal articles and literature
- patient perspectives – stories and images from brave women whose choice was respected as well as those who were victims of denial
- the latest statistics on flat closure
- links to external resources – informational videos produced by our Advisors, coding and reimbursement resources, and oncoplastic training
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