North Country senator's 3D mammography legislation signed into law by governor
Friday, December 1, 2017 - 2:52 pm

Legislation requiring health insurers to cover 3D mammography, which was supported by a North Country senator, was recently signed into law by the governor.

Breast cancer, which the test can detect, is one of the most common cancers among women in New York, according to the state Department of Health. Each year, over 15,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the department, and almost 2,600 women die from the disease. An estimated one in eight women will develop breast cancer during her life, according to Sen. Joe Griffo’s office.

Men also get breast cancer. While it is very rare, about 150 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year across the state, according to the health department, Griffo’s office said.

Tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, has proven to be a more consistent and reliable way of detecting breast cancer. It also has proven to be able to detect breast cancer earlier than traditional mammography and to reduce the incidence false-positives. Most insurance companies, however, do not provide coverage for this technology, according to Griffo’s office.

Griffo’s legislation – S4150 - requires insurers provide this coverage to women who wish to utilize this technology. The legislation will take effect 60 days after the Governor signs the bill.

“A breast cancer diagnosis can have a significant, life-changing impact on the lives of women and men and their families,” Griffo, R-Rome, said in a prepared statement. “We must ensure that women and men have access to the best methods available when it comes to getting screened for breast cancer. Now, they will have another tool to better protect them from this horrible disease. I appreciate the Governor signing my legislation into law and for seeing what a valuable resource 3-D mammography can be.”

A new text line also was unveiled that can help women find mammogram locations. State residents can text “Get Screened” to 81336. After submitting their zip code, they will receive information about screening locations with extended hours near their home.