COLUMBUS, Ohio – Breast cancer survivors who have prostheses can now travel through airport security with more discretion by using a new identification card developed at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James). The card provides a non-verbal way to inform Transportation Security Administration agents about prostheses.
The inspiration for the card came from Electra Paskett, associate director for Population Sciences at OSUCCC-James, a researcher who is a long-time breast cancer survivor.
“While traveling, I have endured several inconsistent and insensitive airport security checks where I felt my privacy and my dignity were violated. Frankly, it made me angry. As breast cancer survivors, we have fought our own battles, we get a tremendous outpouring of support, and we want to cooperate with security guidelines. We are simply asking to be treated with some compassion,” says Paskett.
The card, available through Hope’s Boutique in the JamesCare Comprehensive Breast Center, is offered to new and existing patients who travel. Vera Garofalo, manager of Hope’s Boutique, says many women have already expressed their appreciation for the card.
“Women have told me how uncomfortable traveling can be when they are questioned in public about their very private issues,” says Garofalo.
Paskett and Garofalo designed the breast prosthesis identification card similar to other medical device identification cards for pacemakers or implants. The card provides space for the owner’s contact information as well as information about the prosthesis and the provider.
“We worked with the TSA to develop a good solution for a sensitive issue,” says Paskett. “I have been piloting the card when I travel and I have received positive feedback from TSA agents across the country.”
Women are instructed to have the card in hand as they walk through airport security body scanners. If selected for additional screening, they can then hand the card to the TSA agent, without having to verbally explain their situation.
“This card is not intended to excuse anyone from those security screenings. It simply allows women and agents to communicate more discretely,” says Paskett.
The Transportation Security Administration explains their process for screening a breast cancer survivor on its website.
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio State’s cancer program as “exceptional,” the highest rating given by NCI survey teams. As the cancer program’s 210-bed adult patient-care component, The James is a “Top Hospital” as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
Contact: Marti Leitch, OSU Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737 or Marti.Leitch@osumc.edu