When Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf declared this month that insurers must cover 3D mammograms, he made a significant step forward for women across the country, not just those in his own state. The decision is confirmation of the value of this advanced technology and its potential to save lives.
The governor’s wife, Francis Wolf, made the announcement during the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition meeting in Harrisburg.
“Three-dimensional mammograms are another way to provide vital preventive healthcare to women,” said the First Lady, who is the honorary chair of the PA Breast Cancer Coalition. “Women must be able to receive services like these at no cost. Nearly all breast cancers can be successfully treated if found early and this is another tool to make early detection possible.”
Although insurers are required to cover mammograms, some still do not cover 3D mammography, although that is changing. The American College of Radiology has declared that the advanced technology is better than conventional digital mammography. Also, Medicare began to cover the procedure, which has set a precedent for coverage.
In Pennsylvania, the exams must now be provided to women at no additional cost following the governor’s announcement, said Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller.
“We are very pleased by the governor’s announcement because it will make a difference for the women we see in our centers,” said Colleen Curcio, Ella Health Regional Director of Operations. “They are now assured of having access to an exam that we know provides better cancer detection and reduces the chance that they will be called back for extra unnecessary tests.”
A conventional 2D mammogram takes images of the breast from top to bottom and from side to side, which provides a limited view of the breast. With 3D, multiple images are taken as the machine moves in an arc around the breast. Doctors can page through these images to get a closer look at areas of concern. This allows them to find more cancers and more easily determine if areas of concern require extra testing. Studies have shown that 3D mammography increases the detection of invasive breast cancer by 40 percent while reducing recalls by up to 41 percent.
At Ella Health, mammograms are read by board certified, fellowship trained radiologists who are specialists in women’s health.
“We offer 3D mammography at Ella Health because we want women to have the best care possible,” Colleen said. “That’s why we have convenient, on-time appointments in beautiful centers where women can relax in a comfortable lounge with heated robes and private dressing rooms.”
Colleen Curcio will appear on Good Day PA on ABC 27 in Harrisburg, PA on October 26th to discuss Ella Health’s 3D mammography services.