3-D Mammograms to be covered by Medicare

01 May 2018 by Krystal Barter

Today Pink Hope welcomes the Federal Government’s funding commitment and support for 3D breast imaging and calls for Australian women to be given more information and choice about their options when undergoing breast cancer screening.

Pink Hope is responding to media reports that next week’s Federal Budget will include funding for a Medicare (MBS) item number for 3D mammography. Currently there is no dedicated MBS item number for 3D mammograms and many women are not given the option of this potentially life-saving technology when they have their regular screen.

“Pink Hope is concerned that many Australian women are not receiving adequate screening via the standard 2D mammograms provided by BreastScreen Australia and in other settings. Our goal is to ensure all women are educated about the most suitable screening options, given their personal risk factors, and have access to a range of screening techniques, including 3D mammograms and ultrasounds.” Pink Hope founder and CEO Krystal Barter said today.

“3D mammography detects more cancers than conventional 2D mammograms and is a particularly important screening technique for women with dense breasts, a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors.  3D mammograms pick up twice as many cancers in women with very dense breasts than 2D screens and reduces the need for unnecessary follow-up tests due to false positives.

“3D mammography can help the early detection of breast cancer which increases treatment options and promotes better health outcomes for women with breast cancer. It can also reduce anxiety and stress for women who have breast changes which are found not to be cancerous.

“This additional funding and a dedicated MBS item number will help more women access 3D mammograms but we are concerned that not all women who could benefit from this technique will be eligible for the MBS rebate.  Around 40%-50% of women aged 40-74 have dense breasts. This equates to over two million Australian women, more than eight times the reported 240,000 women targeted for the Medicare Budget funding.

“If we are serious about reducing breast cancer we need to give all women undergoing screening the choice of a 3D mammogram. It is also important that women have the option of other screening techniques, such as MRI or ultrasound, where these are more appropriate for their needs.  Truthfully, not all screening is equal and there is no single technique that will suit all women.

 

“Pink Hope believes that all women deserve access to world class breast screening technology and the information and support they need to make an informed choice about their health.  This Budget initiative is a positive first step in this direction but more needs to be done to genuinely reduce the harms breast cancer causes to women, families and the general community,” Ms Barter said.

Use Pink Hope’s CLINIC FINDER to see what clinics near you offer 3D mammography.

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