- Published: 13 October 2016
Senator John Mulroe is encouraging Illinois women to take advantage of 3D mammography and other screening tools to detect breast cancer early and potentially save their lives.
Mulroe, a Chicago Democrat, was the chief Senate sponsor of Senate Bill 466 requiring health insurance companies to cover 3D mammograms in Illinois. The plan had bipartisan support, and Gov. Bruce Rauner signed it into law in July.
“I believe this law will help save lives through early detection,” Mulroe said. “I encourage women and at-risk men to review their early detection plans and to take advantage of the technological advances in 3D mammography.”
Experts agree that early detection is a key to survival. Statistics show that 99 percent of people diagnosed with breast cancer during the early stages reach a five-year relative survival rate.
3D mammography, or tomosynthesis, more accurately screens for breast cancer than standard mammography, especially in dense breast tissue where cancer signs often are missed, helping doctors catch breast cancer earlier.
The enhanced 3D screening technology decreases false positives, which reduces the number of times women are asked to return for additional screenings and the accompanying anxiety those callbacks can produce.
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, located in Mulroe’s district, was the first medical center in the Midwest to offer 3D mammography screenings.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women in the state. The department estimates that 10,290 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and 10,440 will be diagnosed with it in 2017.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women get a base-line mammogram between the age of 40 and 44. After 45, they should have a yearly mammogram screening, and those older than 55 should be screened every two years.
Nationally, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death in women.
Only men who have a higher risk of breast cancer because of family history or gene mutation are recommended to undergo a mammogram.