In 2020, women using Tricare can benefit from advanced breast cancer screening

Kaylah Jackson
December 03, 2019 - 10:02 am
Breast Cancer Screening for Female Tricare Users

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Next year, female TRICARE users will be able to utilize the most up-to-date breast cancer screening technology thanks to a recent development within the Military Health System.

In November, Air Force veteran Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., spearheaded introducing the Better and Robust Act, requiring the Department of Defense to cover a new breast cancer technology, Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT).

Thomas McCaffery, assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, responded to McSally in a letter announcing next year, DBT will be covered under TRICARE. DBT is an imaging tool that creates three-dimensional visuals of breast tissue using X-rays. It also reduces the need for biopsies.

However, he added in the letter that since the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) does not currently recommend DBT for breast cancer screening, the coverage is provisional but can be “extended for five years.”

“I’m glad to see the Department of Defense step up and provide needed coverage for DBT screenings to our active-duty service members and others,” McSally said in a statement. “This commonsense change will benefit the many women who utilize Tricare.”

Previously, the technology was used only when deemed necessary by a physician. TRICARE users can begin asking for DBT as a screening option as soon as January 1, 2020.

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