KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Insurance companies in Kansas and Missouri are now footing the entire bill for 3D mammograms.
In the past, women who wanted the more detailed mammograms had to pay an additional fee of $30 to $50. That extra fee disappeared with the start of the new year.
Saint Luke's Hospital breast radiologist Dr. Kelsey Flynt said she believes more women will now choose to get the 3D images, which provide a clearer view of the breast tissue from top to bottom and side to side.
"2D mammography is like looking at the cover of a book, while 3D mammography is like looking at the individual pages," Flynt said.
In the United States, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, making it the most common cancer in American women behind skin cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 268,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2019.
Catching breast cancer early is critical. Nearly 100 percent of women with stage 0 or stage 1 breast cancer have a five-year survival rate —compared to a five-year survival rate of 22 percent for women with stage 4 breast cancer.
Angela Swain, a breast cancer survivor, had a lumpectomy at Saint Luke's Hospital about two years ago. She encourages her friends to get an annual mammogram and to make sure it's a 3D mammogram.
"The odds of beating breast cancer are increased with each passing year because of early detection, and I think that it only makes sense to associate this type of technology with that early detection," Swain said.
Most major insurance companies now pay for the additional cost of a 3D mammogram. However, patients should contact their insurance company before scheduling a 3D mammogram to make sure it will cover the full cost.
Missouri is the 10th state to require 3D mammography coverage. Kansas also requires it.
If you do not have insurance and you cannot afford a mammogram, you can reach out to to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.