Diagnostic mammography comes to St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital

September 15, 2020

Just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, diagnostic mammography has come to St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital. Diagnostic mammography can help provide women and their doctor with the answers they need after a screening mammogram shows an area of concern.


“This is great news for the roughly 10 percent of women who have a call-back after an area of concern is identified on their screening mammogram,” said Tanya Adcock, RN, President of St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital. “Instead of having to travel to Athens, Augusta or the Atlanta area for a diagnostic study, they can now get the testing they need right here, close to home.”


Diagnostic mammography uses the same state-of-the-art Hologic 3D machine that Good Sam uses for screening mammograms. But the diagnostic study is personally directed by a radiologist who specializes in breast image interpretation. The radiologist and Good Sam’s mammography team work personally with the patient to obtain new, more targeted images, and then use a powerful new computing system, the Hologic SecurView, to analyze those images while the patient waits.


Because the radiologist is on site during the exam, they can review images in real time and obtain additional images immediately from angles that best highlight the suspicious areas. They can also order same-visit ultrasound studies, which provide different diagnostic information and are also available at Good Sam.       


“The key to our new service is the combination of the SecurView technology and the radiologists’ commitment to come to Good Sam on a regular basis,” Adcock explained.


Funds for the purchase of the $73,000 SecurView workstation came through donations to the Good Samaritan Foundation’s Breast Health Fund.


“Our Foundation Board was eager to support this purchase so that we could bring diagnostic breast imaging to our community,” said Becky Smith, Foundation Board Chair. “It’s another great example of how the generosity of local people and businesses is helping St. Mary’s bring state-of-the-art services to our families, friends, and neighbors.”


Diagnostic mammography is an essential step in determining if an area of concern is normal breast tissue or an area that needs additional follow-up or biopsy, according to St. Mary’s Health Care System Mammography Supervisor Lori Daniel.


“Screening mammography is a quick, low-dose test that can detect lesions that need more detailed testing,” she said. “Screening is all most women need most of the time. But for that 10-11 percent who require additional testing, having diagnostic mammography available at Good Sam is a huge step forward and will provide a lot of peace-of-mind.”


Daniel explained that diagnostic imaging is necessary because an early-stage cancer may look nearly identical in a screening mammogram to other structures that are harmless.


“Hearing that you have an ‘area of concern’ on a mammogram is stressful,” she said. “Having diagnostic mammography at Good Sam can help patients get answers locally. Now, we can tell them on the same day as their call-back whether there’s nothing to worry about or if they need a biopsy.”


Adcock agreed. “Can you imagine finding out you need a biopsy and then having to drive an hour to get home? Plus, if the patient needs a biopsy, our staff is right here to help them understand their choices and make arrangements with our radiologist and biopsy team in Athens before they leave the building. That’s huge. It takes away some of the fear that comes with being told you might have breast cancer.”


To schedule your screening mammogram, go to, choose “Find Service or Specialty,” select “Women and Maternity” and click “Schedule a mammogram.” Or call 706.389.2700. You do not need a doctor’s order, but you do need to specify which doctor should receive the results of your exam. Also, St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital is proud to partner with Oconee Valley Healthcare to provide 25 free screening mammograms to uninsured women from Greene County this October. Please call 706-453-5005 to apply.


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