MISSOURI (KY3/KAIT) -A new law is saving the lives of women.
This law requires health insurers to cover all mammograms for women 40 years of age and older.
It also mandates insurers to cover the cost of 3D mammograms, or breast tomosynthesis.
Radiologist in Mercy’s Chub O’Reilly Cancer Center Dr. Jack Gregston said the 3D mammogram is a game changer.
“I’ve seen a lot of different technologies come and go,” Dr. Gregston said. “The 3D tomo-mammograms is by far the most exciting thing we’ve ever had happen.”
Gregston explained how much better the 3D mammogram images are.
"It takes hundreds of individual little narrow slices, like a deck of cards,” Gregston said. “Whereas if you just had the deck of cards and it was just a block, you'd be able to see it from the front and from the side, but you wouldn't be able to see inside. Now, you've got that deck of cards and I can scroll through each individual image."
Gregston said the clarity of the images also mean less unnecessary panic for patients.
“The percentage of people that get called back,” Gregston said. “It’s somewhere around 20% less than it was with digital.”
Mercy had a $75 surcharge for patients before the House bill became a law.
With insurers covering the initial cost of 3D mammograms, Mercy can provide the service to anyone.
This includes rural communities and those without insurance.
They have installed a 3D mammography machine on its Wellness on Tour bus, which travels to more than 15 rural Ozark communities.
Dr. Gregston’s final message was to stress the importance of getting tested.
“Everyone needs it,” Gregston said. “It’s a better mammogram and it doesn’t matter if you’ve had family history or not. 70% of breast cancers are in people that don’t have any family history of breast cancer at all.”
Missouri joins more than 10 other states that require 3D mammography coverage.
For more information, call (417) 862-3838.