Patients getting better access to 3D mammograms

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- When 3D mammograms were introduced about four years ago, many insurance companies didn't cover the lifesaving screening, but that's no longer the case.

Previously, in order to get a 3D mammogram, most patients had to pay out of pocket or go for the traditional 2D scan. Now, the tool is widely available. Within the last year, insurance companies have gotten on board.

"We've already seen it make a huge difference in our patients. Patients that didn't have the ability to have 3D mammography a year ago, even in the last six months, we've seen a huge increase in the number of patients that have the ability now to have 3D," said Community Health North radiologist Dr. Kari Waddell.

The scan takes your mammogram to the next level, scoping out the breast in layers. You can think of it as flipping a book page by page.

"So the radiologist can then look basically through the entire breast so all the overlapping tissues we used to have to look through we can actually they're not obscuring us anymore," said Waddell. "Tumors that we used to maybe not be able to see, especially in women with dense breast are now easier for us to visualize."

The 3D mammograms can detect breast cancers 15 months earlier than other tech and finds 41% more invasive cancers than a conventional mammography alone, reducing those alarming call-backs by up to 40%.

This type of screening is recommended for all women, but especially women with dense breast tissue.

Community Health North takes walk-ins for mammogram screenings. This applies to patients over the age of 40 with no breast problems. You don't need an order from your doctor.

Health officials say these screenings should be done annually.

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