Health mandate #5 means there are up to 85 Alaskans with breast cancer who don’t know they have it



Must Read Alaska reached out to readers last week to hear from them about the urgent and non-urgent medical needs they have, ones that are not being met due to the mandated limits on non-emergency procedures and surgeries, and the confusion and refusal-of-service they have experienced.

It wasn’t the plastic surgery postponements that caught this writer’s attention. It was messages from doctors who are involved in the detection and treatment of breast cancer.

In any given month, 45-90 women in Alaska are diagnosed with breast cancer, doctors told MRAK under condition of anonymity. None wants the state Department of Health and Social Services to mess with their licenses.

Yet, in the past 30 days, only five women have been diagnosed by one clinic that routinely diagnoses 50 a month — a 90 percent drop in breast cancer detection.

It’s for myriad reasons, the doctors tell MRAK: Some primary care doctors have gone strictly to telemedicine, or patients are afraid to go to the doctor, or they are not sure that breast exams are urgent.

Maybe it’s something that can wait a few months, women think. It’s not a pleasant procedure, so it’s an easy one to brush off.

Or it’s because they are over 50, and there are no mammograms allowed for those over 50 during Health Mandate #5.

That means there are 85 women in Alaska walking around right now with undetected breast cancer — cancer that should have been diagnosed in the past month, but wasn’t.

Here are just a few of the situations readers described to MRAK about their personal medical conditions:

“The virus has all the surgery places messed up, for sure. Took an extra week to get a necessary port put in.”

“I know someone that also had to wait at least a week, and it delayed the start of treatment for a severe leukemia. They should have gone out of state for treatment, but because of all of this they had to stay and hope for the best here.”

“My husband needs medical attention like some diagnostic help with joints, and my sister-in-law is unable to find a doctor to get her heart meds refilled.”

“The day I was to have cataract surgery, I was contacted by the eye center and told they were shut down by Berkowitz. They tried to get it reversed, but it fell on deaf ears. This is a eye center, and their clients do not have elective surgery. We need them. Everyone working there was very upset including the staff and docs. They were told in would likely be July before they would be able to open agin. My eyesight is weekly getting worse and worse, it’s affecting my daily life. But if I want to buy booze, vape or get home supplies, those are all open for business.

“Like needing surgery was set to have and then canceled but in extreme pain.”

“Like dental surgery getting cancelled leaving me for a month with broken molars, live exposed nerves and having to have a liquid diet just to eat?”

“I have a friend who has stage 2 prostate cancer and ANMC canceled his surgery. Does that count?”

“Had my routine colonoscopy screening canceled till June 15. How many will die because of missed routine screenings?”

“My surgery center put staff on 1/2 time because there was nothing for them to do.”

“I have MS destroying my nerves and cannot get treatment. Additionally, I have been referred for a hysterectomy and it  could be cancer. Having beat cancer once, it’s rather horrifying to not be able to get the care I need.”

“So, I had surgery planned for May 6 for a softball size uterine fybroid. It’s been cancelled and no reschedule date given. This fybroid has caused me to be extremely anemic to the point of almost needing a blood transfusion. I’m constantly in pain, I bleed heavily for weeks. I’ve changed my diet and am taking meds, but this still affects my daily life. I’ve had to leave work due to being in such pain that I can’t work and am in tears. Because I’m taking meds and have changed my diet my hemoglobin levels have gone up, they are still low, but they are not low enough for my surgery to not be considered necessary not elective. So I take my meds and eat healthy and stay in pain, or I quit taking meds and let my levels drop to the point of it becoming a ‘necessity.'”

“Have the people you listed asked for a letter of necessity from their Drs? Tell them to be ‘pushy,’ and to not take no as an answer. My surgery center was empty. I’ll removal the staples myself-not worth the risk to go in. I got a medical staple remover from a dog mushing store.”

“I’m a doctor and I’ve just furloughed myself.”

The State’s Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink has established a survey to see how Alaska families are doing. If you have a medical issue that you cannot have resolved due to state health mandates, or if you are having trouble getting primary care because of the current COVID-19 hunker-down orders from your community, you can share your thoughts with Dr. Zink.

Alaskans who would like to respond to the survey can text “AKFAMILY” to 907-269-0344 or access the surveys at the MCH Epidemiology Unit website at

Not comfortable giving your opinion to the State of Alaska? Send a confidential note to [email protected] or add your comments below.


  1. Clearly the mandate needs to be given on a case by case basis which is what I think it is. Doctor have the power to delegate what is urgent medicine. Lots of sad stories out there. Keep the faith. I know it is scary times.

  2. Thank you for being an important link to reality Suzanne. You are saying what many of us instinctively know to be true. We are creating unnecessary health crises as a result of the overreach of state and local government.
    My fathers back surgery (to deal with months of chronic pain) has been postponed until June? July? There is no date set. His legs weaken and his pain intensifies.
    He is almost 80 and a gentleman of the highest order who historically has confirmed to every parking law, paid every tax ever asked of him. I reminded him that unfortunately the government now will not respect him as he has always respected it…..
    Time to raise hell and demand some access to health care. We aren’t Cuba yet.
    Surgeons present their cases to a committee at each hospital which seems whether or not the surgery is elective. Let your voices be heard.

  3. Our esteemed Editor might know who has sufficient gravitas with the U.S. Attorney to raise this as a prosecutable civil-rights offense, including a temporary restraining order against government authorities whose mandates recklessly endanger Alaskans by denying them medical treatment.
    It’s a sad situation indeed when Alaska’s Department of Law and Alaska’s Governor seem to be AWOL when Alaskan people need them most.
    It is something to remember when the next gubernatorial election comes around.

  4. Its about crashing the health care system so they can force Communist care on us. Time for a good old fashioned rebellion.

    • Congratulations, Burt, your comment is the 35,000th comment on MRAK since the launch of the Website in May of 2016. Milestone! -sd

      • 35,000…
        And you have to review all these masterpieces, Madam Editor?
        Thank you so much for your work.

        • Morrigan, I do look at them all and give a quick proofread, try to correct the big typos, remove suspicious links, and delete the truly uncivil comments. But I don’t have the time to polish it all. I enjoy reading what everyone has to say. – sd

      • A very sad state of affairs indeed.
        This is always the trouble with Top-Down , Centralized control. Any one of the Soviet 5 year plans certainly proves my point.
        On a positive note ,at least whiskey is still available . Many Old Coggers self medicate with this ” water of the gods”. I note that my local pharmacy has a one bottle limit in place now.

  5. We are seeing how well Obamacare can handle a pandemic, and clearly it has deadly shortcomings. We are also seeing every aspect of equal, though deficient government health care for all; or are we? Indian Health Service should open clinics and hospitals to every Alaskan during this era. Without that we have a common but peculiar form of government rationing i.e. some are more equal than others. When this is over we need to work against government health care in all its forms; Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, IHS, etc. And people in Congress should not have special health care that is available to just about no one else. When government pays for all health care then rationing purely by cost goes away, but what replaces it segments the population into smaller and smaller cohorts, each scrambling to climb on the shoulders of all the others. Every one of us looks with envy at one of the superior cohorts while we clean our rifles; welcome to socialism. This pandemic shows us that government health care is every bit as bad and unfair as we all suspected, especially the part designed by Barack Hussein Obama.

    • At this point in time virtually every country with government run healthcare that is impacted by corvid has failed their people. We have fared much, much better in dealing with this pandemic because we still have our private sector healthcare largely in place. Residents of countries with government run healthcare should be screaming to change their failed systems to private healthcare.

  6. Leave it to Michigan to be the first state to get out and peacefully protest the unconstitutional mandates imposed on our free society by fascist bureaucrats.
    We should all thank our brothers and sisters in Michigan for standing up to big brother and saying “No”.
    Government does not get to decide who we can visit and where we get to travel in our country.
    This latest “Beta Test” of our liberties shows me that most Alaskans would crawl into their holes and kiss their Constitution good bye.
    I never thought Americans would follow the “Chinese Model” of seperation, tracking and lockdown…but obviously I was wrong.

    • Wow, fascist is a big word. Do you even know what it means? Comrade, since you left Bernie country, you have been a commie. The constitution lets you say what you want. I wouldn’t advice to throw it away. Might lead to something you snowflakes can’t handle.

  7. Perhaps the time is coming when someone severely disadvantaged or harmed by the Mayor’s (or Governor’s) edicts will litigate in court to determine their validity. I did not go to Harvard but I have yet to find the provisions in the federal or state Constitutions that allows executives to suspend constitutional rights. Perhaps the late Justice William O. Douglas has written something which can be applied in this circumstance. I will continue to look.

  8. Why are untruths being perpetuated? I called my doctor and asked her whether I was prohibited from receiving a mammogram with mandate #5. Wrong, if she felt it was essential for me to have one I would get one without issue. I also asked my daughter, whom is employed by one of our hospitals that I will not name, and she said the same thing. Hence a woman such as myself who has regular annual exams, has no breast cancer history, has had no abnormalities at all in my past, hence at very low risk, can forego the said mammogram as not essential. Were I to be considered higher risk, given history, and something suspicious appeared in my routine exam, I would indeed receive a mammogram.

    Hence you are spreading false information, call your doctor and ask. If they are honest they will tell you the truth.

    • Elizabeth – I am glad you had a good experience. I am telling the stories of those who are not having the same good experience. The doctors I speak with are not giving me false information. -sd

  9. Mike just opened it back up. It never was really closed so long as your doctor approved it but now it’s official. Now we can turn our head to one side and cough.

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