TEXAS VIEW: This is a bill we can all get behindTHE POINT — Texas women deserve access to quality cancer testing.

There’s so much bickering and backbiting at the Capitol in Austin that it’s a relief to find a cause where Republicans and Democrats are on the same side. Cancer is everyone’s enemy. To defeat it, all Texas women deserve access to 3-D, or three-dimensional, mammography.
There are two types of mammography used to detect breast cancer: 2-D, or two-dimensional, and 3-D.
All of us want the best breast cancer-screening technology available for our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. Despite the fact that 3-D mammography is to 2-D what the telephone is to the telegram, cost prevents some women from accessing the better technology.
Texas insurers are required to provide coverage of breast cancer screening, but some plans cover only 2-D mammography. The out-of-pocket cost of 3-D mammography, $50-$100, is prohibitive for some women.
Let that sink in: For some women and their families, this small amount of funding can mean the difference between earlier and later detection, or a cure and death. HB 1036, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Senfronia Thompson and Ana Hernandez of Houston, and Nicole Collier of Fort Worth, and Republican Reps. J.D.
Sheffield of Gatesville and Jodie Laubenberg of Parker, would remedy this omission. Their bill would require Texas health insurance companies to cover 3-D mammography for breast cancer screenings.
To explain how the technology works, researchers use the metaphor of a book. 2-D mammography allows radiologists to see the front and back covers, while 3-D gives them the ability to open up the book and go through it page by page.
Radiologists using 3-D mammography can spot tumors much earlier and be more certain of what they’re seeing. 3-D mammography identifies up to 53 percent more breast cancers compared to traditional 2-D mammogram while at the same time reducing the number of false positives by up to 37 percent, according to a Dr. Ethan Cohen, an assistant professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Early detection results in more cures, and saves money, too. It decreases the likelihood that patients will need to undergo expensive treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. It means that breast cancer patients will miss less work for medical treatment.
“If 3-D imaging had been available when I had mine, then they would have caught it sooner,” Thompson, a sponsor of the bill and breast cancer survivor told the Austin-American Statesman.
Cancer has no friends at the state Capitol or anywhere else. This bill deserves unanimous legislative support.