Friday Frontline: Cancer Updates, Research and Education on December 6, 2019

December 6, 2019

From better breast cancer screening options for service members and their families to a Christmas display that’s raising cancer awareness, here’s what is making headlines in the cancer space this week.

A bill has been introduced to Congress that would improve breast cancer screening options for female U.S. service members and their families. The Better and Robust Screening Today Act requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to cover the most effective breast cancer screening option: Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, also known as DBT or 3D mammography. The DoD currently only covers DBT as a secondary option. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs and almost all other traditional health care plans cover it.

“Service members and their families sacrifice so much and deserve the best health care and technology available,” said U.S. Senator Martha McSally (AZ), said in an interview. “There is simply no good reason to deny DBT screening, the latest breast cancer imaging technology, to Tricare patients. As a female veteran myself, I am proud to lead this bicameral, bipartisan bill to expand Tricare coverage for our heroes and their families.”

A memorial service was held this week for Hillary Watson, the wife of World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Watson. She died last week after a more than two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Watson learned of her cancer in October 2017 and received chemotherapy and radiation treatment. In May 2018, she had surgery to remove a tumor.

She is survived by her husband of 20 years and her children, Kyle Charles, Kelly Paige and Ross Donald; and her stepchildren, Meg Carr and Michael Watson. Watson was 63.

Magician Criss Angel announced that his 5-year-old son’s cancer has returned. Johnny Crisstopher received an acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis in 2015 and immediately began treatment. Johnny will return to the hospital soon for treatment, but first the family is visiting theme parks in California including Disneyland.

“We just want to thank everybody for their support over the years,” Angel said in an interview with TMZ. “We want to try and raise five million bucks, so we need your help.”

A testicular cancer hopes his Christmas display will save lives. Christian Roach, who lives in the United Kingdom, used 750 lights to spell out “Check yr nuts.” Roach is now cancer-free but wants to help raise awareness about the disease and get other men to go for check-ups.

Last December, Roach began to have pain in his testicles and went to the doctor but the treatment they sent him home with didn’t make it better. He went back to the doctor in January and received a testicular cancer diagnosis. Roach had chemotherapy followed by surgery.

“It felt amazing to be given the all-clear so quickly,” Roach told the Independent. “It was a massive relief to get it sorted and I am so pleased I did the right thing to get it checked out.”


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