Michael Cusick
Protecting the
health and safety of
New York women

Empowering women to fight disease through early diagnosis
pink ribbon Better notification of hospital test results saves lives

The recent discovery that Jacobi Medical Center failed to inform some 307 women of abnormal Pap smear results - including 30 with "elevated risk" of cancer - is shocking and totally unacceptable. That’s why Assemblyman Cusick supported a measure passed by the Assembly that would ensure patients are notified of hospital test results so abnormalities can be treated in their earliest stages (A.1173).

Combating women’s most deadly disease

Breast cancer continues to be the number one cause of death in New York women, making it critical to take steps to prevent and treat this disease. Early detection and proper treatment will help ensure that the lives of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, daughters, friends and co-workers will not be claimed by this deadly disease.

The American Cancer Society reports that about 90 percent of breast cancer cases are now being detected before spreading to other parts of the body, which indicates that more women are being screened for this disease regularly. The Assembly passed a measure mandating that insurers pay for annual mammograms and cervical cancer screenings in women age 40 and older to continue this positive trend against cancer (Ch. 554 of 2002).

Guidelines for early breast cancer detection

Symptoms of Breast Cancer:

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass found in the breast. A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancerous. However, any unusual mass should be checked by your doctor.

Other symptoms include:

  • A swelling of part of the breast
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
  • Redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • A lump in the underarm area

If you notice any of these changes, see your doctor right away for further screening. It is also important to note that breast changes are not always cancerous.

Methods for Breast Cancer Detection:

  • Mammogram (x-ray of the breast): Women age 40 or older should have a mammogram every year.

  • Clinical breast exam: Women starting in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of a regular exam by a health expert every 3 years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health expert every year.

  • Breast awareness and breast self-exam (BSE): Women should perform BSE’s in their 20s. If a woman decides to do this, her method should be checked by a doctor or nurse to make sure it is correct. A BSE should be done on a regular basis.

Helping protect breast cancer survivors

The Assembly passed a law (Ch. 414 of 2005) creating outreach programs and wellness education on lymphedema - a chronic condition often occurring after cancer treatment, surgery or trauma. Health care facilities are encouraged to place a bright pink wrist band on patients’ affected arm, alerting hospital personnel that the arm should not be used for blood pressure screenings, intravenous infusion injections or blood tests.


Give yourself every chance to fight against breast and cervical cancer

A breast cancer diagnosis can be a frightening and traumatic experience. However, screenings and early discoveries of the disease have proven to be life-saving. Regrettably, too many women are not screened often enough or early enough. Here are a few Staten Island cancer resources:

  • Diagnostic Imaging, 447-4646
  • Regional Imaging & Therapeutic Radiology Services, 876-2000
  • Richmond Radiology Associates, 442-2221
  • St. Vincent’s Catholic Med. Ctr. of NY Bayley Seton, 818-4050
  • Staten Island Medical Group, 816-3787
  • The Breast Imaging Ctr. at Staten Island University Hospital, 226-1333

You can also contact:

  • Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization at 800-221-2141 or
  • Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program at 800-877-8077 or,

Your health matters.
photo of women

Assemblyman Michael Cusick
1911 Richmond Ave.
Staten Island, New York 10314
(718) 370-1384