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SHE'S A SURVIVOR: RN turns personal tragedy into state law

June 27, 2013

Carrie Barcus, a Parkview Whitley Hospital registered nurse, battled breast cancer. Her physical struggle prompted her to work with lawmakers to institute a new healthcare law. Post & Mail photo / Christie Barkley

COLUMBIA CITY — “Mommy, are you going to die?”

Carrie Barcus’ youngest daughter, Tabitha, asked the question after Barcus announced she had breast cancer.

Her battle against cancer prompted Barcus to launch an initiative that would later become law.

“I wanted to reach out to Indiana Senators and lawmakers to educate women about this side of breast cancer,” Barcus said. “There are so many women who just don’t know.”

The unknown Barcus personally discovered is that 40 percent of women have dense breast tissue. When a woman has a mammogram, tumors appear white in the scans. These white blotches led physicians to determine what that spot truly is — cancer or not.

Unfortunately for Barcus and other women who have the same type of breast makeup, dense breast tissue shows up white on mammogram as well.

“I went for a mammogram. My doctors told me everything was fine, but everything wasn’t fine,” Barcus said. “To see tumors in dense breast tissue, an ultrasound has to be done.”

Barcus worked with Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) to make a law, effective Monday, that requires health providers to ensure coverage for certain services for women with dense breast tissue.

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