82-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Demands Apology From Airport Security Over Screening

from the threat-assessment dept

This isn’t a TSA story, since it takes place up in Canada, but it involves the Canadian equivalent, who apparently had a bit of trouble dealing with an 82-year-old woman who had a (gel-filled) prosthetic breast to replace the one she lost in a mastectomy due to breast cancer. By failing to alert them to this “gel” on her body, she was later accused of lying to officials. She was also put through one of the lovely new full body scanner machines, in which passengers are required to lift their hands above their head. The problem? This woman is no longer able to do so. Rather than understanding this, security officials told her she had to. She then tried to lift her left arm with her right arm, and again security told her she was not allowed to do that. At this point she broke down and started crying. Eventually, security did let her get on the plane, but you have to ask what exactly they accomplished here in embarrassing this woman and making her cry.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “82-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Demands Apology From Airport Security Over Screening”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Joe says:

Re: Re: Re: The Goal is Not Safety

> ‘so the TSA isn’t to blame.’

Actually there may be some blame to throw around. American Homeland Security puts a lot of pressure on Canada to ‘bring their security into compliance’. I’ve no doubt that they made security demands to increase security to match US standards.

Where I live (Vancouver), there was a wonderful restaurant down by the docks named the Cannery.

After 9/11, there was huge pressure on Canada to secure everything. After that, in order to go to this restaurant, you had to pass through a security checkpoint and have a photo of your drivers license taken. The Cannery survived due to being spectacular, but was eventually forced to close by the Harbour Commission. Point being, different country but don’t be surprised to see the TSA’s fingerprints in this.

Mr. LemurBoy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Goal is Not Safety

Actually there may be some blame to throw around. American Homeland Security puts a lot of pressure on Canada to ‘bring their security into compliance’. I’ve no doubt that they made security demands to increase security to match US standards.

And yet they still have to re-check my bags every time I fly from Canuckistan to the states, and have stop-over in some American city. I just love sitting on my connecting flight and listening to people around me griping because they have to do a luggage check of the international luggage.

“Bring your security in line with ours, but we still aren’t gonna trust you”

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Rather than understanding this, security officials told her she had to.” Appears she DID tell them.

A cancer survivor, Strecker had a mastectomy five years ago and now wears a prosthetic breast ? which is made of gel.

When she pointed that out to security officers, Strecker said she was accused of lying when first asked about liquids and gels.
While in the full body scanner, Strecker said she was also told to raise her arms above her head, something she can no longer do.

?I told (the security officer) I can not do that (with her left arm) and she said I had to so I yanked it up with my right arm and she said ?you can?t do that, you have to keep both arms up.?

?By then I started crying.?

Clear case of you didnt respect my authoritah!

AC she failed to disclose or did you fail to read? I know you were so anxious to try to pounce on TD. Better luck next time.

Jay says:

Re: Re:

How airport security does it?

They enforce and become mini dictators of a situation. More than likely, no one asked her what was the problem. Usually, it’s like programming

Do X
If X :=Y,

Do Z
If Z :=X


(No, it’s not a serious program. It’s to say that people can’t go past what they do to control a situation. I bet if ONE person had asked, it may have given her time to tell her story.)

The entire environment of security theater is the problem here. I don’t know how big the bureacracy of Canada is for airports but when you have people not beholden to the airport for their screwups, there’s bound to be problems.

Kevin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I agree, she should have gone to her doctor and gotten an note and an X-ray of the prosthetic. Then she should have gotten a document about the prosthetic from the manufacturer which clearly stated the manner in which the prosthetic was built and the materials used during it construction. Finally she should have had a background check performed on all of the technicians, assemblers. testers, nurses, doctors, and anyone else who may have handled the prosthetic to ensure that none of them would have had a reason to plant an explosive device in said prosthetic on the off chance that this 82 year old woman was going to board a plane yesterday.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t see why the first thing a cancer survivor would think when flying is “what about the gel in my body” – she did disclose it when it occurred to her, but can you honestly say you are sure that a breast implant would cross your mind when a guard asked you if you were carrying any liquids or gels? It’s been part of her damn body for years. Do you ever stop and warn security that your bladder is full?

And why would an 82-year-old woman need a doctors note to tell everyone around her that she’s fucking 82 years old and probably a little more frail and a little less flexible than the rest of us?

Hey, old man taking forever to cross the street! Show me your doctor’s note for that cane or else I’m running you down!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Rules is rules! If I’m required to raise my hands, she is too. A previous poster has also given me the idea to let them know about the state of my bladder when going through security.

If old ladies don’t raise their arms, they will turn them into suicide bombers. Just wait until the terrorists find out that their grandparents can be used for play destroying fodder. You’ll be sorry.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Rules is rules! If I’m required to raise my hands, she is too. A previous poster has also given me the idea to let them know about the state of my bladder when going through security.

If old ladies don’t raise their arms, they will turn them into suicide bombers. Just wait until the terrorists find out that their grandparents can be used for play destroying fodder. You’ll be sorry.”

If it weren’t for the snowflake then I’d actually think you were the previous anonymous coward. Much better than sarc marks.

Joe says:

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CA-TSA? really?)have since offered a form of apology

We apologized for not having met her expectations and expressed our regrets for the unpleasant experience, and that doesn’t change, regardless of the results of the review,

Which sounds like the bare minimum they can say and still get a headline of Airport Security Apologizes to Elderly Woman.

They are doing an investigation and have video of the incident. Interestingly, they say they will not be publicly releasing either the video or the results of their investigation.


Hopefully there will still be some public pressure on them to actually make changes and not just to damage control.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Well that sucks. If only there was a website some concerned CATSA employee could send that too….”

If it can be believed then they are more concerned with complaining in the article comments about the journalist not using the word “alledged” [sic] in the story. What’s weirder is that I can’t find anywhere to insert the word in the story. They don’t make any libelous claims, but merely report what Ms Strecker said. Perhaps they wanted the title to say ‘Cancer survivor demands investigation after alleged Calgary airport screening’?

aikiwolfie (profile) says:

Water Is The Most Successful International Terrorist Ever!

I would like to know what the authorities are doing about the terrorist threat from Water. In recent times it has flooded Brazil, Pakistan, eastern Sri Lanka and Australia. It has wrecked havoc with our economies and transport systems posing a fluffy harmless snow.

All year round water strikes across the planet. Some how it keeps slipping past those naked scanners and sexually arousing groping pat downs.

Just when will we have a war on water!?!

Stephen Straka says:

Having traveled by air numerous times in my native Canada as well as between Canada and the US, I feel confident in saying that this is an isolated incident. Every time I’ve gone through security on both domestic and international flights, the CATSA agents have been a lot nicer and practical than their American counterparts. This includes traveling into the US because airport security is still handled through CATSA, the DHS only handles customs. This has the odd effect of creating more security for me going back to Canada than there is to enter the US. That said, I think I’ve encountered TSA enough times that I can say I don’t feel comfortable at all whenever I go through US airport security, whereas in Canada they’ve been as quick and noninvasive as they can. In several airports I haven’t even had to take off my shoes!

Basically what I’m saying is that, with the TSA I felt that their invasive screening procedures are standard across the board and the staff are under-trained and incompetent whereas with CATSA that was most likely an isolated incident. We’ll see if CATSA management rectifies this (even in Canada, I wouldn’t hold my breath) but even if they don’t, I still have confidence in the average CATSA agent, something that I cannot give to TSA.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: thoughts...

oddly, yes. and New Zealand, for that matter… if you don’t mind some combination of signing up as crew, spending far more than it would cost to fly, and/or taking three months… (the latter based on Amazon’s shipping practices, admittedly :P)

i think the only real passenger ships that do that these days are cruise liners though…

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: thoughts...

> flying is a privilege, not a right

I love the way the government has managed to brainwash the totality of the American public into thinking that the routine and necessary activities of modern life are mere privileges that may revoked by some bureaucrat at their whim.

Pretty soon they’ll be telling us that breathing is privilege not a right and if we want to continue doing it, we’d better shut up and get on board with whatever they’re requiring of us.

CJ (profile) says:

More to it than you realize

First she had a mastectomy. Some mastectomy’s are more invasive than others. Apparently hers was. When you have the invasive mastectomy, You loose muscle, lots of skin, and breast, plus lymph nodes. This can include all the way to the arm pit, and up towards the neck. There is no way for some men and women, to gain back what they have lost muscle wise, because it is all gone. So they also loose certain abilities like being able to lift your arm(s) up, pick objects up over a certain weight, etc.

Second she should of only had told them she had a mastectomy. For which I am pretty sure she did, and anyone can see this for what it is in a body scan. Regardless of whom did her scan, or pat down, it does not matter most mastectomies are done one way or the other. Following picture outlines two versions of a mastectomy. Most are done to er on caution to be sure they get all the cancer.
This is just a drawing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: More to it than you realize

Second she should of only had told them she had a mastectomy.

I don’t think she should have even had to tell them that much. Between the full-body x-rays, physical examinations, and interrogations, they may just as well be giving people medical examinations (except that real doctors at least change their gloves between patients, which these “agents” don’t).

What’s next, side-of-the road body cavity exams? I’m not kidding, that’s exactly where it’s heading. “Oh, but it’s to catch terrorists, so don’t complain, unless YOU’RE A TERRORIST!”

btr1701 (profile) says:


I read a similar story recently about a man who was paralyzed from the waist down and was told by the TSA screener that he was required to walk through the security screener. He explained to them that it was physically impossible for him to walk and that if he could walk, he wouldn’t be in the damn chair to begin with.

None of this seemed to impress the mouth-breathing mongoloid running the screener, who insisted that TSA regulations said he had to walk through, therefore he just had to get over his paralysis.

Apparently the TSA is the modern-day equivalent to Jesus and can heal any malady with nothing bit a well-placed regulation.

Daniel J. Lavigne (profile) says:

Revenge . . .

Someone should tell that lady about her lawful right and duty to refuse to support a society that commits mass murder.

However, that wouldn’t stop such as the sheep that thought it was a wolf . . . until “it” has to pay more taxes to make up for what that new member of “The Tax Refusal” is no longer paying.

Speaking of which:

“The Tax Refusal” has been receiving hits from all sorts of “Law Enforcement” types.


Add your voice to reason’s call.

Join the Tax Refusal. 


And the related effort to wake the world:


Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...