Breast cancer survivors go through A LOT. They've endured chemotherapy, mastectomies, and reconstructive surgery
, often followed by more chemotherapy and/or radiation. It seems like they've been through just about everything, but there is one adversary remaining in the form of . . . wait, the TSA? Heightened security measures at airports have proved a nuisance to us “normal” folks, but to medical patients with implants or internal devices, such as those found in breast cancer survivors, these airport security protocols can be downright embarrassing and uncalled for.The Battle Royale
A new case involves a 44-year old woman from New York named Lori Dorn. Dorn, who began her grueling battle against breast cancer less than a year ago, was going to visit some friends in San Francisco before she was stopped short at the airport. Upon passing the body scanning machine
, the machine picked up tissue expanders that had been implanted inside Dorn to prepare her for permanent reconstructive breast implants. Workers from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) quickly became hostile and began to humiliate Mrs. Dorn.
Inside her bag, Lori had a medical card that contained information about the tissue expanders, including their serial numbers and her doctor's contact information. Although she repeatedly asked to retrieve it, the security workers rudely denied her and proceeded to pat her down.
While having her breasts handled so overtly in public is uncomfortable enough, to make matters worse Mrs. Dorn's breasts were still sensitive from previous breast cancer surgery, further compounding the mental and physical pain
she had to endure. On the way home, at the San Francisco airport, no issues arose when she passed through a metal detector.
Were They in the Wrong?
The TSA fired back against accusations of questionable behavior in an email statement to the New York Times, explaining that proper screening procedures were followed and nothing out of the ordinary happened. The agency defended its workers' actions, claiming that they strive to treat each and every passenger with dignity and respect . . . however in some instances a misjudgment could occur. The letter describes how the TSA agrees with Mrs. Dorn in that the workers should have shown more compassion and understanding, and that a private screening should have at least been offered, but it insists that everything fell under standard procedure.Change is Not Likely to Come
In light of the terrorist threat to the United States, and especially since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings in New York, airport security has been heavily ramped up in an effort to prevent further similar attacks from happening. The TSA has been criticized by many travelers as being too protective, and some even say paranoid, and that the protocols are too intrusive and potentially embarrassing. The TSA remains confident that these small inconveniences are but a small price to pay for safer flights and peace of mind for all who are flying.