Back to Top Skip to main content

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...

Screensaver Dates Open Season 2019 T3

Photo
10/31/2019
Screensaver with dates of Open Season (Nov 11 - Dec 9)

Share this screensaver to spread the word that Open Season is happening now

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Open Season 2019

Screensaver Boys Open Season 2019 T3

Photo
10/31/2019
Screensaver with photo of boys and text about Open Season

Share this screensaver to spread the word that Open Season is happening now

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Open Season 2019

FEDVIP 2019 Screensaver T3

Photo
10/31/2019
Screensaver with characters and text about FEDVIP Vision

Post this FEDVIP Vision Screensaver

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Open Season 2019

T3 OpenSeason2019_Logo_White

Photo
10/31/2019
Logo saying that TRICARE Open Season is happening now

This logo is a reminder that Open Season is Nov 11 to Dec 9, 2019

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Open Season 2019

T3 OpenSeason2019_Logo_Blue

Photo
10/31/2019
Logo saying that TRICARE Open Season is happening now

This logo is a reminder that Open Season is Nov 11 to Dec 9, 2019

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Open Season 2019

IG Open Season 2019 Growing Family T3

Photo
10/31/2019
Instagram post with text about Open Season

Share these stories on Instagram

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Open Season 2019

Join TRICARE for Oct. 31 Q&A Facebook Event on Open Season

Article
10/28/2019
Take Command of Your Health

Do you have questions about open season? Here’s your chance to get some answers.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Open Season 2019 | TRICARE Changes and You

2019 TRICARE Open Season, Federal Benefits Open Season starts soon

Article
10/24/2019
TRICARE Open Season and Federal Benefits Open Season happens only once a year. Unless you experience a Qualifying Life Event, open season is your only chance to enroll in or make a change to your enrollment for the participating programs. (DoD photo)

Open season is your chance to enroll in or make a change to your enrollment in the programs

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Open Season 2019 | TRICARE Changes and You

2020 Copay Infographic

Photo
10/18/2019
Infographic outlining current and 2020 TRICARE pharmacy copayments.

Share this infographic to spread information about 2020 TRICARE pharmacy copayment increases

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | TRICARE Pharmacy Program | TRICARE Pharmacy Copays are Changing

DYK Maintenance Medications

Photo
10/18/2019
Image of text reading sharing a fact about maintenance medications

Share this image to highlight a Did You Know image about maintenance medications

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | TRICARE Pharmacy Program | TRICARE Pharmacy Copays are Changing

2020 Copay Chart

Photo
10/18/2019
Chart outlining current and future 2020 pharmacy copayment costs for each point of service

Share this image to outline the specific pharmacy copayment changes.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | TRICARE Pharmacy Program | TRICARE Pharmacy Copays are Changing

2020 Copay Changes DYK

Photo
10/18/2019
Image of text reading Did you know? On Jan. 1, 2020, TRICARE Pharmacy copayments will change.

Share this image to highlight a Did You Know about copay increases

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | TRICARE Pharmacy Program | TRICARE Pharmacy Copays are Changing

TRICARE Pharmacy Options

Photo
10/18/2019
Infographic outlining pharmacy options and scale of costs

Share this image to highlight pharmacy options and the scale of costs

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | TRICARE Pharmacy Program | TRICARE Pharmacy Copays are Changing

TRICARE website expands to include military hospital sites

Article
10/16/2019
The TRICARE website is growing. As of Oct. 1, TRICARE welcomed several military hospitals and clinics to its website.

By 2021, more than 350 individual military hospital and clinic websites will move to TRICARE.mil.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Military Hospitals and Clinics | TRICARE Changes and You

For a good grade on bone health, aim for D – vitamin D

Article
10/15/2019
An Army trainee at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, gets a bone density scan as part of a study with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Massachusetts, that's aimed at reducing musculoskeletal injuries. (Courtesy photo)

Women generally more deficient than men in this essential nutrient, studies find

Recommended Content:

Women's Health
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 76 - 90 Page 6 of 20

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.