Bill would require insurance to cover ovarian cancer test

By Diana Zoga

Texas lawmakers are working on a bill that would require insurance companies to pay for a blood test to help detect ovarian cancer.

It's not part of a typical well-woman exam, and many say it should be. However, some doctors aren't so sure.

When Julie Shrell went to the doctor feeling bloated, tired and constipated, her doctor recommended a hysterectomy because of Shrell's family history.

After surgery, tests confirmed that she had ovarian cancer.

"I wish there was a better screening," said Shrell. "I wish that someone could say, ‘Hey, everyone gets a pap smear and it's going to cover ovarian cancer.' It doesn't, and people don't realize it."

The test lawmakers are pushing for doesn't catch every type of ovarian cancer and runs a risk of false positives, though.

"Some who have been through this might say the scare is worth it; just move forward with something," said FOX 4 reporter Diana Zoga.

"I understand their point of view, but for the many people that do have scares, no," said Dr. Gabriela Zandomeni with Methodist Richardson Medical Center. "I don't think it will detect the amount of people it needs to."

Shrell is now cancer-free and raising money for research through a non-profit she helped create to find a better way to keep women alive.

"Since I got diagnosed, I know over half a dozen people who have been diagnosed since me and died less than four years," she said.

Lawmakers started looking at the issue after the death of a young, well-known lobbyist in Austin last year.

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