Thanks to a new state law, more women in Texas will get potentially life-saving 3D mammograms, an imaging test to spot breast cancer.
Texas House Bill 1036 took effect September 1, mandating that commercial insurance plans cover 3D mammography, known as digital breast tomosynthesis.
"It's one of the best tools we got in screening for breast cancer. Now that it's available to anyone at no cost here in Texas with the new legislating, there's no reason why a woman should not be getting a 3D mammogram," said Dr. Douglas Baker, a radiologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas.
Last year, about 3,000 women in Texas died from breast cancer, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
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"We are catching 30-50 percent more cancers on the 3D than what we are able to see on the 2D alone," said Dr. Baker.
Texas Health researchers say 3D mammography is an advancement over traditional 2D mammography because some tumors can be obscured by dense tissue, which is common in younger women.
It is important to note that 3D mammography does not replace 2D imaging.
Instead, it is performed at the same time as traditional mammography, using the same scanner.
Texas is just the seventh state to pass a law mandating the coverage.
Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania have similar laws in place.