THE BLOG
10/18/2012 10:09 am ET Updated Dec 18, 2012

It's Funny How Not Funny Breast Cancer Is

Humor Brings Awareness during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
But, hello people. We need to do more.

Tits! Boobs! Knockers! Jugs! Melons! Goombas, the Twins and Dairy Pillows! Hello ladies, do I have your attention now? Good, because October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

If someone would have told me 10 years ago that NFL players would be sporting pink cleats and ribbons for a month, I probably wouldn't have believed them. Yet, nationwide, NFL players and other sports figures, celebrities and government officials, supermarket clerks and fashion icons are wearing pink and helping to raise awareness about Breast Cancer.

Elvis Duran and radio station Z-100 have been promoting a "support the ta-tas" campaign by selling t-shirts that benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Callers to the number one rated morning show can be heard opening their comments with an emphatic and cheerful "Hello Lady!", the show's popular catch phrase that is now being used to raise awareness about breast cancer and the need for regular screenings. A healthy percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the t-shirts with the "Hello Lady" logo are being donated to the cause. Last October, Elvis's efforts raised over $20,000 for breast cancer awareness and the show hopes to double that figure this year.

One of the first organizations to embrace humor to raise awareness about breast cancer was the Save The Ta-Tas Foundation, a non-profit organization that donates the proceeds of its merchandise to breast cancer research. The site sells t-shirts emblazoned with phrases such as "Cancer Can Kiss My Ta-Tas" and "My Girl's got Great Ta-Tas" and has raised over $850,000 to date.

Bloomingdale's has a take off your bra for breast cancer campaign where women who donate their bras receive a discount on new ones and the used bras are donated to Breast Oasis, a charity that provides women who can't afford them, with clean, gently used bras.

These programs and many others use titillating language (Ha! Get it?) and humor to address a very serious issue. Thousands of lives can be saved if women and their doctors follow the American Cancer Society's guidelines regarding breast cancer early detection. As a legislator, while I am known for having something sort of like a sense of humor, I have to address the seriousness of this issue and urge women to take advantage of this month to read those guidelines... Hello Lady! Read them and live them.

Yet, pointing out what women can do to protect themselves is not enough. Legislators nation-wide need to recognize the need to ensure that women can afford to implement these recommendations. The Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare" as it is known, does require that mammograms be covered by insurance plans. However, plans that were in effect prior to August 1, 2012 are not subject to that requirement. Coverage under those earlier plans are left to state by state regulation. New York State does require insurance companies to pay for annual mammograms after age 40 or at any time upon physician recommendation and this year, in New York, we expanded the coverage requirement for breast cancer screenings to include supplemental screenings, a requirement not included in the Affordable Care Act.

In July of this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law which will require insurance companies to cover further screenings if a woman is found to have dense breast tissue during a mammogram. The law also provides a requirement that written notification be given to the patient that dense tissue was found and informs the patient about the need to consult with her doctor about additional screening. Tumors present in dense tissue tend to be obscured, making it likely that it will not be seen on a mammogram. In fact, mammograms can miss up to half of all tumors present in dense breast tissue and 71 percent of all breast cancers are breast cancers that occur in dense tissue. Ultrasound screening, MRI examinations, and/or other screening tests approved by the American College of Radiology, after a mammography reveals dense breast tissue would go a long way in ensuring that women with dense breast tissue are likely to detect a tumor early.

The law was modeled after a similar one that had passed in Connecticut and Florida, California and Texas have considered similar bills.

In udder words, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I'm urging women not only to get regular screenings of their Fred & Ethels, but I'm also asking people (you too guys) to make some noise and write to your legislators demanding supplemental screenings as an insurance coverage requirement. Think of it as a "honk if you love honkers" letter writing campaign.

Oh, and to learn 138 different slang words for breasts, visit here.