Dr. Kristi FunkDuring Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year, there will be a whole new debate on the table. With the "Angelina Jolie effect" inspiring more women than ever to research their options for genetic testing and possibly having preventative mastectomies, some skeptics and pessimists are persistently arguing that the average American woman doesn't have the same options as Angie. That her fame and fortune afforded her access to this special preventative care -- and most of us aren't so lucky.
Well, now that the identity and details of her breast cancer surgeon have been revealed -- in a profile appearing in this month's Town and Country magazine -- perhaps women who aren't movie stars and who aren't even insured will have a bit more hope ... Because as it turns out, Angelina's doc, Dr. Kristi Funk, isn't only helping the rich and famous keep the disease at bay.
Town & Country's writer Dr. Peter Bach describes 44-year-old Dr. Funk as having "blond hair pulled back, not elaborately done up. Her surgical scrubs were a little rumpled. Her mind was on her next patient." Furthermore, while she has been the go-to breast cancer doc for stars like Angie and Sheryl Crow, she also takes on poor and uninsured patients. Her clinic, the Pink Lotus Breast Cancer Center in Beverly Hills, accepts Medicare, Medi-Cal (California's version of Medicaid), and those without insurance altogether. Plus, she and her husband have also started a charity called Pink Lotus Petals that will help women pay for care if they need it.
This is definitely not in tune with the raves that Angelina is advocating something that most of us cannot begin to afford or track down in our own hometowns. And even if we need to travel, because we don't live in SoCal or there's nothing similar to the Pink Lotus Center near us, there are many doctors out there like Funk who are devoted to helping many women get the care (testing, surgery, etc.) they need.
Yes, there are often hoops to jump through. Even if you're insured, you usually have to prove you have family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer to get the genetic test. Still, that's no reason to throw in the towel and declare Angie's experience impossible for the average Jane. Thanks to Dr. Funk and doctors like her who are interested in making a difference instead of ringing the cash register, there are many paths to the preventative care we ALL so deserve.
How do you feel about the example Angelina and Dr. Funk have set?
Image via PinkLotusBreastCancerCenter.com