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Cancer surviving flight attendant told to remove prosthetic breast during pat-down

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Cathy Bossi Cathy Bossi

By Molly Grantham - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -  A Charlotte-area flight attendant and cancer survivor said she was forced to show her prosthetic breast during a pat-down.

Cathy Bossi lives in south Charlotte and has been a flight attendant for the past 32 years, working the past 28 for U.S. Airways.

In early August, Bossi was walking through security when she says she was asked to go through the new full body-scanners at Concourse "D" at Charlotte Douglas International. 

She reluctantly agreed.  As a 3-year breast cancer survivor she says she didn't want the added radiation through her body.  But, Bossi says she did agree.

"The TSA Agent told me to put my I. D. on my back," she said.  "When I got out of there she said because my I. D. was on my back, I had to go to a personal screening area."

She says two female Charlotte TSA agents took her to a private room and began what she calls an aggressive pat down.  She says they stopped when they got around to feeling her right breast… the one where she'd had surgery.

"She put her full hand on my breast and said, 'What is this?'.  And I said, 'It's my prosthesis because I've had breast cancer.' And she said, 'Well, you'll need to show me that'."

Cathy was asked to show her prosthetic breast, removing it from her bra. 

"I did not take the name of the person at the time because it was just so horrific of an experience, I couldn't believe someone had done that to me.  I'm a flight attendant.  I was just trying to get to work."

Since then, Cathy has contacted the Legislative Affairs Team, a group through the flight attendant union.  She says she wants to see a crackdown on these personal pat downs.

"There are blowers and there are dogs out there that can sniff out bombs," she says.  "There's no reason to have somebody's hands touching your body parts."

A TSA representative says agents aren't supposed to remove any prosthetics, but are allowed to ask to see and touch any passenger's prosthetic. 

TSA says it will review this matter.

More information: TSA policy concerning prosthetics

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