Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

New 3-D mammogram option the next step in diagnosis, treatment

Chief Hospital Corpsman Naomi Perez, a certified mammogram technician (left), conducts a mammogram for a patient at Naval Hospital Pensacola. A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray procedure used to detect the early stages of breast cancer. A policy change effective Jan. 1, 2020, will allow digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, to be used to screen for breast cancer. The procedure – known technically as Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) – will be offered primarily to women age 40 and older, and women age 30 and older who are considered high-risk for breast cancer.  The procedure’s 3-D images provide a more thorough means of detecting the disease. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan) Chief Hospital Corpsman Naomi Perez, a certified mammogram technician (left), conducts a mammogram for a patient at Naval Hospital Pensacola. A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray procedure used to detect the early stages of breast cancer. A policy change effective Jan. 1, 2020, will allow digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, to be used to screen for breast cancer. The procedure – known technically as Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) – will be offered primarily to women age 40 and older, and women age 30 and older who are considered high-risk for breast cancer. The procedure’s 3-D images provide a more thorough means of detecting the disease. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan)

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Women's Health

After nearly a year’s effort, a policy change effective Jan. 1, 2020, will allow digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, to be used to screen for breast cancer. While the procedure may not be offered at all military treatment facilities, the expanded benefit will be available as a screening and diagnostic tool for beneficiaries with TRICARE coverage.

The procedure – known technically as digital breast tomosynthesis or DBT – will be offered to primarily women age 40 and older, and women age 30 and older who are considered high-risk for breast cancer. Practitioners can offer DBT to other patients should a diagnosis determine the presence of a risk factor

The procedure’s three-dimensional images provide a more thorough means of detecting the disease – particularly in patients with dense breast tissue. The digital breast tomosynthesis technique is similar to that of a CT (computed tomography) scan. The source of the CT X-ray repeatedly sweeps over the breast at spaced intervals. The final imagery offers a cross section of “slices,” or adjacent segments, of tissue.

"Mammography is the gold standard in detecting breast cancer, and the DHA is pleased to bring this advanced form of imaging to our patients," said Dr. Paul Cordts, chief medical officer for the Defense Health Agency. "We know how important it is to our patients to have access to the latest technology to improve their health outcomes. Digital breast tomosynthesis allows for earlier detection and diagnosis of smaller cancers and, if discovered early, it opens up more options to treat it quickly while in a nascent stage, with improved outcomes and potentially less side effects."

According to Amber Butterfield of TRICARE’s Medical Benefits Reimbursement office in Aurora, Colorado, the expanded benefit for breast cancer screenings is allowed through provisional coverage authorized by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffrey. Provisional coverage is a special authority that allows extension of coverage for items that are undergoing evaluation or have beneficial effects not yet proven.

Between 2016 and 2018, roughly 80,000 TRICARE beneficiaries were diagnosed with either malignant abnormal growths of the breast, called carcinomas, or pre-cancerous cells, called neoplasms. To address this, leaders at the DHA were determined to find a way to expand breast cancer screenings using the DBT technology, while adhering to congressional requirements as they pertain to provisional authority.

“By regulation, TRICARE follows guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for preventive services,” Dr. James Black, medical director of the Clinical Support Division at DHA, said. “This includes the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which gives recommendations on provisional preventive services.”

Although the task force has yet to recommend DBT for cancer screening, the decision by DHA leadership to expand DBT to annual cancer screenings was made a year ago. Since the USPSTF does not currently recommend DBT as a more effective screening tool than 2-D mammography, the DHA had to find a way to offer coverage under current statutes that govern what health services TRICARE can provide beneficiaries.

Black cited the efforts of retired Navy Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, the former DHA director, along with subject-matter experts from the services, who provided guidance that led to the provisional adaptation of DBT coverage.

Their focus included which commercial insurance carriers cover DBT and other coverage criteria. From there, DHA’s medical benefits and reimbursement section put together a provisional coverage determination and submitted it to the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs – who, by law, is the approval authority for any such changes. The coverage determination was approved in September and coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2020.

Although the task force has yet to recommend 3-D breast DBT for cancer screening, DHA leadership is confident that within the five years DBT has been approved on provisional authority, the USPTF will obtain enough research to reach a firm recommendation.

Beneficiaries who have questions about DBT services offered in locations convenient to them should contact their TRICARE provider or regional customer service call center.

You also may be interested in...

How Health Care for New Mothers is Improving Across the MHS

Article
11/24/2021
Photo of a medical provider checking out a pregnant woman

The post-partum hemorrhage bundle campaign trained all clinicians that provide OB services at military hospitals, giving them resources and tools to provide patients and staff information and/or training about PPH and how to respond in the event of a PPH event.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Postpartum Hemorrhage

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: How to Keep Babies Safe While Sleeping

Article
11/24/2021
baby boy asleep on his back in a crib

Don’t co-sleep with babies; that’s a SIDS risk factor teaser

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Children's Health

Calendar Year 2022 TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select Out-of-Pocket Costs: Retired Service Members, Their Families, and Others

Technical Document
11/5/2021

This chart shows Calendar Year 2022 TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select Out of Pocket costs for Retired Service Members, Their Families and Others

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Rates and Reimbursement

Calendar Year 2022 TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select Out-of-Pocket Costs: Active Duty Family Members

Technical Document
11/5/2021

This chart shows Calendar Year 2022 TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select Out of Pocket costs for Active Duty Family Members

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Rates and Reimbursement

Welcome to TRICARE (Briefing Slides)

Presentation
11/3/2021

An overview of the TRICARE benefit for service members and their families. The briefing includes details about eligibility and beneficiary categories, program options and enrollment, priority access to military hospitals and clinics, pharmacy and dental program options, transitional coverage, other important information and contact information.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

TRICARE Prime Remote and TRICARE Prime Remote for Active Duty Family Members (Briefing Slides)

Presentation
11/3/2021

An overview of the TRICARE programs and services offered to service members and their families in remote locations. The briefing includes information about the Affordable Care Act, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), eligibility, enrollment, primary care managers, TRICARE Young Adult coverage, routine and specialty care coverage, the point-of-service option, types of care, emergency and urgent care, mental health care services, pharmacy and dental program options, and TRICARE self-service options online. Contact information is also included.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

TRICARE Prime Remote and TRICARE Prime Remote for Active Duty Family Members (Speaker Notes)

Presentation
11/3/2021

Speaker notes to accompany the TRICARE briefing titled, "TRICARE Prime Remote and TRICARE Prime Remote for Active Duty Family Members".

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

TRICARE Overseas Program Prime Remote (Briefing Slides)

Presentation
11/3/2021

An overview of the TRICARE benefit available to beneficiaries in remote overseas locations. The briefing includes information on what TRICARE is, TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) Prime Remote coverage, TOP support, eligibility and enrollment, benefit overview, prior authorization, point-of-service option, types of care, getting care while traveling, pharmacy and dental program options, using other health insurance, TOP claims processing and filing, claims reimbursement and direct deposit, filing a grievance, reporting fraud or abuse, and the Affordable Care Act. The briefing also includes online resources and contact information.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

TRICARE Overseas Program Prime Remote (Speaker Notes)

Presentation
11/3/2021

Speaker notes to accompany the TRICARE briefing titled, "TRICARE Overseas Program Prime Remote".

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

Welcome to TRICARE (Speaker Notes)

Presentation
11/3/2021

Speaker notes to accompany the TRICARE briefing titled, "Welcome to TRICARE".

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

Using TRICARE and Medicare (Speaker Notes)

Presentation
11/3/2021

Speaker notes to accompany the TRICARE briefing titled, "Using TRICARE and Medicare".

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

Using TRICARE and Medicare (Briefing Slides)

Presentation
11/3/2021

An overview of TRICARE and Medicare for dual-eligible beneficiaries. The briefing includes details about TRICARE, TRICARE and Medicare eligibility, TRICARE For Life, TRICARE program options, and other important information. Contact information is also provided.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

Transitioning from Active Duty to Retirement (Briefing Slides)

Presentation
11/1/2021

An overview of TRICARE options available to active duty service members and their families when transitioning from active duty to retirement. The briefing includes details about preparing for retirement, TRICARE program options, and TRICARE benefit information. Contact information is also provided.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

Transitioning from Active Duty to Retirement (Speaker Notes)

Presentation
11/1/2021

Speaker notes to accompany the TRICARE briefing titled, "Transitioning from Active Duty to Retirement".

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

Other Important Information (Briefing Slides)

Presentation
11/1/2021

These additional briefing slides provide extra information for you to add to other TRICARE briefings. The slides include information about enrollment, milConnect, TRICARE.mil, other health insurance, mental health and substance use disorder services, provider types, TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Select, and more.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 19

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.