The New Year will bring clearer answers and less anxiety for
women being screened for breast cancer.
A new state law will go into effect on January 1 that
requires health insurance companies to cover the cost of 3-D mammograms when
women 40 and older request it (asreported by WTNH here).
3-D mammography, also known as tomosynthesis, is considered
the “gold standard” in digital mammography because it gives radiologists the
ability to examine breast tissue in millimeter sized layers. The technology
converts digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers which are
combined to create a more comprehensive 3-D image. This means that fine details
are more clearly visible and not hidden by tissue above and below, which can
happen with basic digital mammography.
Studies have shown that 3D mammography increases the
detection of invasive breast cancers by 41 percent. Just as important, the
technology cuts down on false positives, which can result in needless and
costly additional tests and anxiety for the patient.
Griffin Hospital’s Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness has
offered its patients 3D mammography since 2012, when it became one of the first
hospitals in the state to acquire the technology. 3D mammography is performed
in addition to a basic digital mammogram to increase the sensitivity of
detection and reduce false positives on images.
Griffin applauds all the members of the state legislature
who supported this law and looks forward to a future where all women will
benefit both physically and emotionally from this technology, which reduces
needless call backs for further testing and helps find breast cancer at an earlier,
and more treatable stage.