Saint Luke's News: 3D Mammograms now fully covered in Kansas and Missouri

January 11, 2019
nurse helping patient with her 3D mammogram

As of Jan. 1, Kansas and Missouri insurance companies now fully cover 3D mammograms.

Dr. Ruby Meierotto, Lead interpreting Breast Radiologist at Saint Luke’s East Hospital, said the change is a significant one.

“Most locations had to charge patients an out-of-pocket fee, which, therefore, limited the number of women who could get the 3D mammogram,” Dr. Meierotto said. “Now moving forward, more women will have the opportunity to choose a potentially life-saving exam.”

Saint Luke’s Health System is the most experienced provider in the Kansas City area, as it was first in the metro to offer 3D mammograms back in 2012. All 3D mammograms are interpreted by highly skilled, fellowship-trained breast radiologists.

Through taking multiple images, a 3D mammogram can capture more fine details than a traditional 2D mammogram. In a 2D mammogram, some of those details—including some cancers— may be hidden by overlapping breast tissue.

Invasive cancers, or stages I-IV that can spread and potentially be deadly, are found 40 percent more often in a 3D mammogram, according to the American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging.

“Studies show we are catching more invasive breast cancers with this technology,” Dr. Meierotto said. “And besides catching more cancers, we have fewer false positives or fewer false alarms. So less women are getting called back for unnecessary tests and unnecessary biopsies.”

Catching cancers earlier is critical. Nearly 100 percent of women with stage 0 or stage I breast cancer have a 5-year survival rate, according to the American Cancer Society. That number decreases as the cancer becomes more advanced. Only about 22 percent of women with Stage IV, or metastatic, breast cancer have a 5-year relative survival rate.

Saint Luke’s recommends all women 40 years of age and older get a mammogram each year. Women who are considered high risk may need to start getting annual mammograms at an earlier age.

“All women should get the 3D mammogram, whether you’re high risk, average risk, have dense breast tissue, or the fatty replaced breast tissue— all women benefit from this potentially life-saving exam,” Dr. Meierotto said.

Saint Luke’s offers 3D mammograms at nine locations, with walk-in and same-day appointments available.

You can also schedule a 3D mammogram by calling the location nearest you.

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KCTV: 3D Mammograms fully covered in Kansas and Missouri starting in 2019
Starting January 1, 2019, insurance in Kansas and Missouri will fully cover this screening. Dr. Meierotto talked to Better Kansas City to see how this will benefit local patients.