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All TopicsForum: Living Without Reconstruction After a Mastectomy → Topic: Full body scanners and foobs

Topic: Full body scanners and foobs

Forum: Living Without Reconstruction After a Mastectomy — Discuss prostheses, swimsuits, bras, and other options for women not having reconstruction or waiting for reconstruction.

Posted on: Aug 21, 2010 12:50PM

OLBinNJ wrote:

I have some concerns about privacy with the full body scanners.  I imagine that foobs will show up, and I'm not so sure the TSA will know what they are.  Will I be pulled aside and patted down?  If so, how private will it be?  If it's private, I would be willing to "flash" by foob, but how do I then explain to my traveling companions who have no idea about my breast cancer (and no need to know), why I was pulled aside?  Should I just opt out of the scanner and go for the pat down from the get go?  Has anyone had any experience with these new scanners?

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Nov 16, 2010 12:12AM SoCalLisa wrote:

We are going on a trip this coming spring, the first with the whole body scanners in our airport

I have a prosthesis made out of who knows what, and am not looking forward to this

humility..I have traveled extensively all over the world with this prosthesis, and I was

never stopped with the old machines...

one more thing to worry about

Biography: DX 11/2000 LCIS,DCIS,IDC 2B, Grade 1, ER+,PR+ Her2Neg 1 pos node Lumptectomy, CMF chemo X 6 mos, DX 8/2001, IDC same breast--Mastectomy , Left Breast Lumpectomy... Tamoxifen, one year...Armidex, Four years
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Nov 16, 2010 07:29AM BarbaraA wrote:

I just came back from a trip to Boston and fortunately, was not 'selected'. I plan to say, 'I have cancer and cannot have more radiation. I opt out.' Otter, thanks for the info on getting your stuff first and requesting a private room with same sex mauler.

Unfortunately, I fly at least once a month for work. Frown

Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield. Dx 4/30/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/24/2014 Femara (letrozole) Dx 11/25/2014, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+
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Nov 16, 2010 08:17AM doingbetter wrote:

I also never had a problem with the prosthesis with the "old" screening methods.  Obviously they will show up as a foreign object on x-ray machines. But, the even greater concern is the radiation exposure.  At least two airlines are instructing their pilots and employees not to go through them because of the health risk and I've read in several places that there is concern about increased risk for skin cancer and eye damage from the exposure. 

 I wonder if during a full body pat down they can tell the difference between real breasts and prostheses. Which of course makes one wonder how much these pat downs can really reveal since people may have various kinds of "items" on their body for medical or hygeine purposes and real terrorists can figure out ways to hide things.  Meanwhile, I've heard from a couple of people we know how uncomfortable they felt by having a stranger rubbing her hands all over the body.  I've also been told that you are better off being screened in front of others with witnesses since some people have complained that in private the agents can be more abusive as there is no one there to see what is happening.

The whole thing really stinks - bad enough for the average person, but especially problematic if you have a medical condition that you don't really feel like explaining or justifying to the whole world.  We used to travel quite a bit, but are definitely cutting back on the optional trips.

Dx 6/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 16, 2010 10:05AM mthomp2020 wrote:

I haven't flown in a few years myself, and only once since 9/11.  Really looking forward to it (not!)  The full-body scan doesn't bother me as much as the enhanced pat-down.  However, my husband is an IT consultant and travels out of town every week, so he goes through security twice a week.  That's a lot of radiation exposure. 

My 84 year old dad lost a leg in WWII when he was 19.  The last time he flew, which was about a year or 2 ago, they wanted him to take his leg off to run it through the Xray machine.  This was problematic, because he had to check his crutches with his luggage.  He wouldn't have been able to get the leg back on, as it requires a special sock, and that was in his luggage as well.  The security person was being really a huge ass about it.  They finally got the supervisor, and they let him go through without removing it.  I mean - really?  They thought an 80+ DAV might have a bomb in his artificial leg?  Some of these security agents are just on a big ego power trip, if you ask me.

Marsha Dx 5/21/2007, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Nov 16, 2010 10:26AM ktym wrote:

http://www.salon.com/technology/ask_the_pilot/2010/11/10/airport_security/index.html

www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5Wu44... 

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin . 

 I stand with Ben Franklin on this one.  I do not get it.  People fight fight fight over their right to bear arms (anyone see the article about the car dealership in CA giving out coupons for money off the price of an AK-47 to everyone who bought a truck?)  And yet stand like sheep in a line every day at airports all over the country for these stupid rules and procedures and pat downs and scans.  None of which makes a bit of sense.  Thank goodness congress has asked the TSA to justify and prove they've made a difference. I thought the 60 minutes you tube spot did a nice job of showing both sides of the story. I try hard not to ever fly.  Given what it did to my lymphedema this Fall is added incentive. My hope is that one day everyone will stand up and say stop the insanity or we're not flying anymore.

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Nov 16, 2010 10:53AM BoobsinaBox wrote:

Thanks for the Ben Franklin quote.  He is absolutely right!  I have avoided flying except once in the past 4 years, and I plan to keep avoiding it, at least out of this country.  I don't need humiliation and public embarrassment to add to BC and LE!

Dawn 

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Nov 16, 2010 11:06AM grneyd5600 wrote:

Ok ladies, I can tell you first hand that the expanders will show up as an "anomolly" in the scanners.  The first time I went through them I was stopped, then wanded and then taken to a private room.  The TSA then had me take each of my hands and rub them along my chest wall (under my clothes) and then they tested the hands for chemicals.  I am certain that the "fill ports" are what the scanner is picking up.  It is metal and it will be picked up in a wand as well.

I am flying again today and have decided to just tell them upfront that I have expanders under the skin and ask for the private screening and just get it over with.  The one that bothers me is I have to come back from Newark on Saturday and they are a nightmare to deal with.  Ughhhhh!

Jackie Dx 3/26/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 4/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 16, 2010 01:12PM Celtic_Spirit wrote:

I've been following this closely as well and am feeling rather disturbed about it. I've flown several times since my surgery, and have worn both my silicone protheses and compression sleeves with no problems. That was before these new scanners and enhanced pat downs. I don't want to be groped, exposed to more radiation, or have to get into a drawn-out discussion of my medical history. I'm wondering, now, would the best alternative be to put my protheses in my carry-on suitcase and "go flat" through the screening process, then duck into a restroom and put them on? Or would some yahoo screener pull my foobs out of my suitcase in front of a thousand people and ask for an explanation?

Dx 2/8/2008, IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 9/30 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 16, 2010 01:43PM grneyd5600 wrote:

Celtic - I always step into the ladies room after the TSA and put on my sleeve.  It is just easier for me than answering a bunch more questions. 

Jackie Dx 3/26/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 4/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 16, 2010 01:59PM retrievermom wrote:

Last month, as I flew out of Salt Lake, the agent let us know which line was for the fully body scanner machine; that was the way by which travelers could opt in or out.  As someone with a total hip, I have been patted down using the old method for years.  I completely understand the frustration over the elderly man being asked to remove his prothesis.  I've had my crutches taken and asked if I could walk through the scanner without them; "do you need these to walk?"  I was asked.  This past trip, I opted for the full scan so they could see what's inside me--rods, joint, clips--and avoid the rub down.  Coming back, from DCA, I was wanded.  When asked to step aside and wait for an agent, I look around and see my fellow potential terrorists--almost all of them middle aged or older, probably with hip and knee replacements.  These are folks who cannot stand on one leg and hold the other in the air.  GEEESH!  There are other ways to accomplish the goal.

Dx 12/15/2009, IDC, <1cm, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Nov 16, 2010 02:46PM ktym wrote:

In all seriousness, I never see them change those blue gloves.  I'm reading a lot of cases of pat downs under the clothes.  Do we have the right to insist they put on new gloves before a pat down?  Does someone latex allergic have the right to ask if the gloves are latex free?

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Nov 16, 2010 03:27PM otter wrote:

The blogs I'm reading recommend that people watch to see if the agent changes gloves, and ask that the gloves be changed if they haven't been.  It's not just a sanitation issue (which it is, considering where those fingers are going nowdays).  The gloves are what they test for residue after they're through with the groping.  It would not be good if the agent touched something with residue on it right before he/she rubbed those gloved fingers on you.

I had never thought about the latex problem.  Are the blue gloves the latex-free ones?  (Maybe someone here knows that.)  Latex allergies can be life-threatening ... I can't believe the TSA wouldn't have thought about that.

Oh.  Never mind.  I can believe it.

Although I do not ever plan to fly commercially again, I can't say it won't happen.  I don't know what I'll do.  I do not want to go through either type of scanner.  It really is a strip-search, but it's the only kind the TSA can get away with at this point, at least on a routine basis.  But, I sure don't want to have to stand there with my arms outstretched while I'm being felt up by a stranger, either.  If you protest, they will remind you that you gave them permission to grope you when you showed up at the airport to fly that day and then opted out of the scanner.  Women have nightmares about these sorts of things....

Apparently (according to statements made by TSA agents), they do check the bra pretty closely when they do an enhanced pat-down, to "be sure there is something in it."  So, I don't know which would be better (or worse) -- wearing my prosthesis, so there would be something in my bra even though it isn't flesh-and-blood, or not wearing a bra at all and being completely flat on one side. 

Right now I'm thinking I might go bra-less through TSA security if I have to fly again.  Finding a boob on one side and a totally flat chest on the other would surprise the inspector but might not trigger as many questions as the discovery of a foob in a bra cup.

otter

Dx 2008, IDC, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Nov 16, 2010 04:01PM corgigirl wrote:

Rather than put up with these procedures and the radiation have chosen not to fly anywhere ever again.  Luckily, I like to drive.  Worry that my children will also stop flying and they live quite a ways away.  Understand why they do it, just do not want to be put in that position. 

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Nov 16, 2010 04:33PM Tina337 wrote:

So glad I read this thread - really appreciate the heads up. I'm flying on Friday and have permanent implants and LE. I usually put on my compression tank and 'swell spots' inserts at home and put the sleeve and glove on after I go through security. I do not want any radiation, so if I can't do the metal detector, I guess I'll let DH stand there with my luggage while I'm groped - right out in the open. If I'm lucky, they'll make me pop out my 'swell spots' for the world to see. Round trip Phila to Tampa. I'll let you know how it goes at both airports.

"Life isn't about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself." ~ George Bernard Shaw Dx 11/13/2007, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 16, 2010 04:35PM BarbaraA wrote:

I wish I could choose to drive. Unfortunately, we have 14 offices from Boston to LA, north and south. Ugh. Maybe I can do more LiveMeetings.

Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield. Dx 4/30/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/24/2014 Femara (letrozole) Dx 11/25/2014, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+
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Nov 16, 2010 05:00PM mabels wrote:

I would insist that gloves be changed. The possibility of spreading MRSA or other infections exist even if the pat down was "only" on the exposed skin.

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Nov 16, 2010 05:25PM ktym wrote:

T2zus, DH and I have discussed that idea of reasonable suspicion and search also.  It does seem to really be going over a line

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Nov 16, 2010 05:37PM Mouser wrote:

The blue gloves are non-latex -- at least, i've never seen blue latex gloves. Latex is a risk for the TSA agents too, after all. (Oddly enough, i have had a student who was allergic to the nitrile gloves. I gave her a box of latex gloves to take to her lab class. there's all kinds of allergies....)

I've flown once since the new scans, and was patted down - very politely, not at all obnoxiously. Can't say it bothered me, but what some of you are describing is much more invasive.I used to love to fly, but now it's such a hassle, i drive whenever possible.

I'm not sure how the prosthesis would show up  in luggage -- but i think there's a real risk of having it pulled out and examined, because that's what happens to the loaf of rye bread we take with us on hiking trips to the SW! (It's hard to get good bread in the general stores in little towns.) The bread gets  pulled out every time. If it's in the checked luggage, the suitcase is opened. Same happens to a friend who bakes her own to take along, so it's not just one brand (but maybe it is the denser home-style bread. I should try a baguette some day....)

mouser - IDC 0.4 cm + DCIS 1 cm, 2007; Stage 1, grade 2, ER+PR-, Her-; lumpectomy, rads, letrozole. More calcs 2008; mastectomy. Quit letrozole 10/09.
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Nov 16, 2010 05:53PM Celtic_Spirit wrote:

Oh, hell, Sherri, I would come unglued if they did to me what they did to your friend. That is absolutely over the top. Unbelieveable.

Between how the airlines nickel-and-dime you do death with fees and stuff you into undersized seats--and now TSA groping or radiating us--I'm seeing train, car, and cruise travel in my future.

Dx 2/8/2008, IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 9/30 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 16, 2010 06:40PM ktym wrote:

Sherri, If your friend could stand to do it (not sure I could either) she should call every media outlet and journalist she can find until someone is willing to talk about and publish her story. 

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Nov 16, 2010 06:46PM Bren-2007 wrote:

OMG .. Sherri .. that's alarming what your friend went through.  I recently traveled from the east to the west coast and had to be patted down.  At no time did the TSA agent touch my skin.  She was very professional and I didn't feel bad about it.

It's awful hearing about the horror stories some are having to go through.

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Nov 16, 2010 09:52PM Nordy wrote:

These are all horror stories!!! Honestly, if I still wore prosthetics I probably would have just yanked them out of my bra and laid them in the bin on the conveyor belt and sent them through the scanner with my shoes. Wonder what they would think about that. H*lls bells...

Do or do not. There is no try. (Yoda!) 2 large positive nodes before neoadjuvant chemo - all nodes negative after chemo Dx 4/21/2005, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/12 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Nov 16, 2010 10:47PM doingbetter wrote:

I'm wondering if Sherri's friend hadn't told them about the prostheses and simply opted out of the scan whether or not they would have known the difference between real breasts and prosthetics. 

The whole situation is just so creepy and bothersome.  And I'm really losing my patience with people who shrug it off in the name of security.  kmmd hit this right - it's amazing what people in this country will fight for yet act like lemmings for the really important stuff. If anyone thinks about it for half a second they would know that neither the scanners nor the patdowns are going to find something a real terrorist wants to hide.  There are still other ways. 

Another point to the ridiculous was a piece in the Bus. section (Itineraries) of Today's NYT where they even talked about sanitary napkins being detected in the xray machine and the TSA Administrator instructing his agents to use their discretion in exploring further.  

We used to love to travel, but have decided to cut back dramatically. Already gave up the after Christmas  and Pres. bday trips this year and just planned our 4th of July vacation to someplace we can drive to as opposed to the further distances we typically go.  Now just have to see if I can stomach the March trip we have planned out West which is already booked.  Hopefully things will settle down by then, but if I keep hearing these humiliating stories - not just here, but have been all over the news - I wouldn't hesitate to cancel.

Dx 6/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 17, 2010 02:27AM ktym wrote:

Sherri, I've been reading a lot, and believe it makes sense, that TSA is trying to make the pat downs so horrifying that people will shut up about the risks and walk through the new scanners.  This story in my mind reinforces that concept.  I just keep thinking about how the FDA also thought CT scanners and radiation machines were fine.  Human error has lead to some horrific results.  Why they think we trust that the scanners will be different escapes me. 

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Nov 17, 2010 07:46AM KerryMac wrote:

I've just come across this thread, and have read with a bit of mounting horror.

I am due to fly for the first time since Surgery in January next year, so I am hoping I don't encounter any "special' treatment! I am travelling with my kids and in-laws, so hope to avoid any unnessary humiliation.

Kerry - Dx Oct 2008, Stage IIIa IDC, ER/PR+ Mx, Chemo, Rads, Ooph, Arimidex, Zometa, Tamoxifen
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Nov 17, 2010 08:08AM doingbetter wrote:

KerryMac

It's still somewhat random who gets picked to go through the scanners and get the enhanced patdowns, so while not a great deal of comfort, we can all keep our fingers crossed that we won't be the one.  Also, make sure to dress very carefully so as not to set off the metal detector  since it seems like it's usually the people who set those off (aside from the body scanner opt outs) that get the more invasive searches and pat downs.  There's also some hope (although with TSA it's probably very slim hope) that with all the opposition maybe they will tone things down a bit over time.

Dx 6/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 17, 2010 09:00AM BarbaraA wrote:

doingbetter, think about it...a lot of TSA agents like the power thing. I have been through the regular pat downs maybe 9 times. I have also been through the wave machine 4-5 times but I will not go into the x-ray one. Yeah, I am a 59 YO WASPy blond/gray chick of about 108 lb and I guess I look like a real threat to security. So I will be groped here pretty soon. My next trip is 12/1. Wish me luck.  

Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield. Dx 4/30/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/24/2014 Femara (letrozole) Dx 11/25/2014, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+
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Nov 17, 2010 09:11AM KerryMac wrote:

Well, I'll keep my fingers crossed that I (and we all!) get through as easily as possible!

Kerry - Dx Oct 2008, Stage IIIa IDC, ER/PR+ Mx, Chemo, Rads, Ooph, Arimidex, Zometa, Tamoxifen
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Nov 17, 2010 11:19AM crazy4carrots wrote:

KerryMac:  If you're not flying into the U.S. you probably won't see much of a change.  Don't wear layered clothing (just a sweater or blouse over underwear) and don't wear shoes with any kind of raised heel -- sneakers or flat shoes are best.  Keep your jewelry to a minimum.  The Air Canada website has a lot of useful info regarding what (and what NOT to) pack in carry-on luggage, and also how to pack it.  Good luck!

Linda in Niagara

The demagogue preaches doctrine he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots. Dx 1/10/2008, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Nov 17, 2010 12:12PM KerryMac wrote:

I am actually flying to Orlando, with a stopover in Chicago....so several places for them to get me! But thanks for the info, I will check out the websites for any info. We are flying Air Canada and United I think....then cruising for 7 nights, so I keep telling myself that any inconvience will be worth it!

Kerry - Dx Oct 2008, Stage IIIa IDC, ER/PR+ Mx, Chemo, Rads, Ooph, Arimidex, Zometa, Tamoxifen

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