Pennsylvania Officials Say Insurers Can’t Charge Extra For 3-D Mammograms

Friday, October 9, 2015
The Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News (10/9) reports that state officials “are giving Pennsylvania insurers until the end of the year to officially revise policies to reflect the state’s position that 3-D mammograms must be available for the same price as older two-dimensional exams.” The article notes a 1992 state law says mammograms must be provided free of charge for women 40 and over. State insurance department spokesman Ron Ruman “says the state’s position is that, for insurance coverage purposes, newer 3-D mammograms are no different than traditional mammograms, and women should face no extra charge.” The 1992 law applies to private health plans sold in Pennsylvania, including ACA coverage. 

Even Though Most Women Agree On Importance Of Regular Mammography Screening, Just Over Half Follow Through: Study

Thursday, October 8, 2015
Aunt Minnie (10/8, Yee) reports that even though “more than three-quarters of women strongly agree that getting regular mammography screening is important, just over half actually follow through,” a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Women’s Health suggests. Researchers arrived at this conclusion after surveying 3,501 women. 

Early Detection Confers Survival Benefit For Breast Cancer Patients

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

HealthDay (10/7, Norton) reports on a study (10/7) published in the BMJ finding that “even with recent strides in breast cancer treatment, a woman’s chances of surviving the disease still partly depend on early detection.” The study was based on the experience of about 174,000 Dutch breast cancer patients. It found that while survival rates were higher in 2012 than in 1999, they were still “best when their tumors were caught early.” From 2006-20012, the five-year survival rate was 88 percent for breast cancer patients, while it had been 83 percent from 1999 to 2005. Even among those with tumors greater than 2 inches across, the rate improved from 63 percent in the earlier period to 73 percent in the later. The study still found that for women with tumors less than three-quarters of an inch across “nearly all” survived for five years. 

MR Scanning Technique Using No Contrast Shows Promise In Ruling Out Malignancy

Thursday, October 1, 2015
HealthImaging (10/1) reports that “an innovative, seven-minute MR scanning technique using no contrast has shown promise in ruling out malignancy—and thus averting unneeded biopsies—when deployed after regular screening mammography brings back troubling lesions.” In a study “running ahead of print in Radiology,” investigators found that “the technique, diffusion-weighted imaging with background suppression MR mammography (DWIBS-MRM), had a negative predictive value of 92 percent in a prospective study of 50 women who had suspicious mammograms occasioning physician orders for biopsy.”