Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New CDC Trans Feminine Breast Screening Policy Takes Effect

Photo: Doctor talking with female patientWhen I went to my Galveston, TX based gender clinic for my first transition medical checkup 20 years ago this April, my endocrinologist at the time Dr. Lee Emery said as I sat down in the chair at her desk, "I have good news and bad news for you. Which one do you want first?"

"Let's start with the good news," I said.
"The good news is that your chances for prostate cancer because of HRT have dropped to near zero.". 
"That's great!  What's the bad news?'
"Your chances for breast cancer just doubled," Dr. Emery said in a matter of fact tone.

So it was with that two decade old conversation in mind I hailed the December 20 CDC reversal of an old trans exclusionary policy in the wake of the October controversy stirred up after Colorado trans woman Jennifer Blair was denied a screening.

The federal early detection program offers preventive breast cancer screenings to low-income women, but had Raymondesque language in it limiting it to people who are genetically female. 

The 62 year old Blair had sought the screening after detecting an unusual growth in one of her her breasts that was found to be benign.   She subsequently filed a complaint under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act in October after being forced to leave the facility without having the mammogram that would have otherwise been covered under federal law.   

The medical studies concerning transwomen, HRT and breast cancer are ongoing, but we still need to be as estrogen based lifeforms doing regular breast self exams. 

Once you hit age 40, mammograms need to be done on a regular basis to save the boobies.  It's even more important for us African-American transwomen because we are susceptible to acquiring a type of breast cancer that is aggressive and fast growing, so it's even more important that we do so, especially if the cis women in our family have a history of breast cancer.

Cancer prevention expert Dr. Jacqueline Miller issued a memo stating "federal funds may be used to screen these transgender women."  

The memo specifies patients must be "transgender women (male-to-female) who have taken or are taking hormones and meet all program eligibility requirements."

The new CDC policy takes effect today, and will probably lead to one day saving someone's life.

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