3D Mammography Comes to Thomasville

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3D Mammography Comes to Thomasville

This summer, as a result of a successful community fundraising effort, patients at the Archbold Women’s Center gained access to new medical technology that they would have previously had to travel more than 50 miles to take advantage of.

3D mammography™—the most advanced technology available for breast cancer detection—made its debut in Thomasville in July. And it’s already helping physicians detect breast cancer in the very earliest stages of the disease.

Breast cancer, the second most common cancer diagnosed nationally in women after skin cancer, is also one of the most common cancers treated at Archbold’s Singletary Oncology Center every year.

And with statistics showing that one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, it’s safe to say that most everyone has been affected in some way by the disease—whether through personal experience, or that of a family member or friend.

Breast cancer survivor Debbie Beeson, who also serves as the Breast Cancer Navigator at Archbold’s Singletary Oncology Center, is thrilled that patients now have access to the state-of-the art diagnostic tool that wasn’t available when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2006.

“The unknown is what created the most fear for me when I learned my diagnosis,” said Beeson. “The technology available at the time made determining the size of the tumor difficult. 3D mammography would have probably given doctors a more accurate picture of what was going on from the beginning, which would have given me and my family peace of mind as we were discussing treatment options.”

Archbold physicians say the 3D mammography technology is the latest and greatest tool to detect breast cancer.

An x-ray-like machine takes a series of pictures in seconds that are converted into thinly sliced images of the breast from multiple different angles.

“The technology produces an unprecedented view of the breasts from multiple angles,” said Archbold radiologist Mary Ann Bullard Grayson, MD. “It allows us to examine the tissue layer by layer, similar to how you would flip pages in a book, to see what’s inside. Fine details are more visible with this technology. Even very small lesions are able to be detected and analyzed, because they are less likely hidden by overlapping tissue.”

“3D mammography has already contributed greatly to an increased rate of breast cancer detection at the Archbold Women’s Center, “said Dr. Grayson. “As a woman, a radiologist, and your neighbor I strongly encourage women to take advantage of this new breast cancer screening technology.”

Rhonda Whitfield was one of the first patients to have a 3D mammogram at the Archbold Women’s Center.

“For months, I would postpone my screening mammogram, simply because life just gets busy. But I had a few very close friends diagnosed with breast cancer in the last six months, so that motivated me to schedule my routine screening,” said Whitfield.

This wasn’t Whitfield’s first mammogram. But it was her first abnormal mammogram.

“Of course, the worst possible outcomes were running through my head when I was told I needed a biopsy,” said Whitfield. “But the swift response by my doctors and the quality of the technology gave me peace of mind knowing whatever I had was caught before it became life threatening.”

Fortunately, a biopsy later confirmed Whitfield didn’t have breast cancer.

“Seeing how quick and easy the whole process was made me regret waiting so long to get screened,” said Whitfield. “I knew I was in the best hands possible at the Archbold Women’s Center, which made me more comfortable in a tough situation. I won’t postpone a mammogram again, especially now that we have access to 3D mammography. I feel so fortunate that Archbold cares enough about me as a patient to offer me the best technology available.”

“Our community really counts on Archbold to stay on the cutting edge with the latest diagnostic tools,” said Beeson. “The new technology gives patients an added level of comfort in their journey knowing they have every current tool for diagnosis at their disposal.”

Beeson added, “Our community is known for pulling together when there is a definite need—in this case the need was 3D mammography.”

“When we began talking about 3D mammography last summer, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Thomasville needed this technology,” said Vann Middleton, president of the Archbold Foundation. “We were able to show the technology would improve our diagnostics and contribute to the survival rate of breast cancer patients—and that was something our community really rallied behind.”

The Archbold Auxiliary gave the lead gift of $100,000 to kick off fundraising efforts. Community members and several families affected by breast cancer also made generous contributions. And proceeds from Archbold’s 2015 Pink Affair cancer survivor benefit fashion show helped complete the fundraising initiative.

“With the support of our generous donors, we were able to raise over $550,000 to help bring 3D mammography to Thomasville,” said Middleton. “The hospital matched the community’s philanthropic investment to ensure both mammography machines at the Archbold Women’s Center were upgraded to 3D technology.”

“One of the advantages to living in Thomasville is the access we have to phenomenal healthcare,” said Dr. Grayson. “I get to take care of my friends and my neighbors using the best technology, some of which is purchased through generous donations made the Archbold Foundation.”

Grayson added, “Thomasville is a wonderful community that has a passion for taking care of each other. The purchase of 3D mammography was a very wise investment for the advancement of healthcare in our region, and we are very grateful for all the generous donations that helped bring this technology to Thomasville. ”

Pictured from left to right: Carey C. Newman, MD, Archbold radiologist; Jacqueline Smith, MD, Archbold radiologist; John B. Carico, MD, Archbold radiologist; Vann Middleton, Archbold Foundation president; Teresa Johnson, R.T. (R)(M)(ARRT), Archbold Womens Center; Linda Boland, R.T. (R)(M)(ARRT), Archbold Women’s Center; Mark Layne, Director of Radiology at Archbold; Michele Norton, R.T. (R)(M)(ARRT), supervisor of the Archbold Women’s Center; Kim Joiner, R.T. (R)(M)(ARRT), Archbold Women’s Center; Vonda Williamson, R.T. (R)(M)(ARRT), Archbold Women’s Center and Mary Ann Bullard Grayson, MD, Archbold radiologist.

Pictured from left to right Archbold Auxiliary members Drucilla Bennett, Betty Banks and Henrietta McQueen with Archbold radiologist Mary Ann Bullard Grayson, MD; Darlene Taylor, Georgia State Representative; Perry Mustian, Archbold president and CEO; Janet Schmidt, president of the Archbold Auxiliary; Archbold Auxiliary members Imogene Conyers and Emma Chatmon.