FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH)-- The fight against breast cancer takes on a different twist. Studies show 3-D mammography increases the rate of breast cancer detection.
But, it's not covered by insurance.
Mammography is the gold standard in detecting breast cancer. But the latest technology, 3-D mammograms has doctors like Radiologist Dr. Gioia Riccio seeing things even clearer.
"In the 2D I see normal granular tissue," said Riccio. "I would say she looks fabulous and tell her to come back in year."
But in 3-D...
"As you scroll through the imaging, it pops up like a light bulb," said Riccio. "A triangular area of tissue with all this pulling of the normal structures into it, which is a hallmark of cancer."
Studies show 3-D, with 2D imaging lowered the number of patients getting callbacks and increased detection rate.
But frustrating Dr. Riccio is not everyone is benefiting -- because it is not covered by insurance.
"I'm really not sure why it's not covered because when you look at the imaging, even to a layman, someone not trained to read x-rays, there's clearly a difference," said Riccio.
So she's waging a grass roots campaign asking patients at Bridgeport Hospital Outreach Radiology to send postcards to their insurers and the government urging coverage.
"Medicare tends to be sort of the daddy and they wait for Medicare to say okay this is worthwhile stuff and they will adopt it," said Riccio.
Office manager Michele Roy took advantage of the 3-D mammography offered here.
"On the 2D mammography, everything looked fine and when she did the 3-D which makes the small slices into the breast, that's when they saw it," said Roy.
Early detection led to avoiding chemotherapy.
"Another year would have went by and then it would have probably been a whole different story," said Roy.
Dr. Riccio hopes other doctors will join the fight, meantime she says from time to time smaller carriers do pay up.
"It's almost a no brainer," said Riccio.
To encourage women and men to take advantage of the technology, Dr. Riccio says if the insurance company does not cover the service, patients there are not required to pay the extra charge.
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