A generous gift is bringing the very latest in breast cancer detection technology to Mercy Hospital Lebanon, and its timing coincides with a change in state law to ensure the screenings are paid for, too.
The Mercy Health Foundation Lebanon board of directors earmarked $150,000 to pay for a 3D mammography upgrade for the hospital. Radiologists say the technology, also known as breast tomosynthesis, is a giant step forward in finding cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage.
“3D mammograms give us a layer-by-layer view of the breast tissue,” explained Dr. George Runyon, radiologist at Mercy Hospital Lebanon. “Small tumors can’t hide behind blood vessels or dense tissue like they may have on a 2D mammogram. Also, we can more easily determine something is perfectly normal, so there are fewer call backs for additional testing, which always led to a lot of worry for our patients.”
The Foundation’s decision to buy the equipment was easy. “This is a gift that will bless our entire community with more birthdays, anniversaries and family milestones,” said Amy Waterman, Mercy Health Foundation board member. “When you talk about a gift that keeps on giving, this is definitely it. The money comes from a lot of donors to our Foundation. By combining those gifts, we were able to make this big impact on our health and the health of our daughters, mothers, and all the women in our lives we care about. Now we just need those women to do their part and commit to getting their yearly mammogram.”
A change in state law is making the annual screening test free for those with insurance. The legislature passed Missouri House Bill 1252, which was signed by the governor and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. It not only requires insurers to cover a yearly 3D mammogram, it also lowers, from 50 to 40, the age at which insurers must cover mammograms.
“It’s important for women to know they don’t have to have a family history of breast cancer to be at risk for the disease,” Dr. Runyon said. “While it increases your risk, most women who are diagnosed do not have a family history. That’s why annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40 are so important.”
The new technology becomes the standard test for everyone at Mercy Hospital Lebanon on March 7, 2019. To make your appointment, call 417-533-6094 or schedule online.
If you’d like to make a gift to Mercy Health Foundation Lebanon for future needs like this, please contact Karen Simpson-Neasby at 417-533-6192.