Tanner News

Women's Health Screenings Made Easier at Tanner Breast Health

With important women’s preventive imaging — like mammograms and bone density — back on the calendar at Tanner, many women are getting their first look at the new Tanner Breast Health location at Tanner Health Pavilion, across Dixie Street from Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton.

And, with Tanner’s Mammography on the Move mobile unit resuming its trek across west Georgia and east Alabama in July to provide convenient access to patients in outlying areas, it’s twice as easy to check these important screenings off your to-do list.

Mammograms save lives

A mammogram is a non-invasive X-ray used to check breasts for breast cancer and other abnormalities. Mammograms can detect cancer early — when most treatable — long before it can be felt, improving the odds of survival and can avoiding more extensive treatment.

Since 1990, mammograms have reduced deaths from breast cancer by 40%, according to the American College of Radiology.

The American College of Radiology, the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the cancer treatment specialists at Tanner Cancer Care recommend annual mammograms for women of average risk for breast cancer beginning at age 40. It’s important to note that while breast cancer is most commonly diagnosed in women, men can develop it, too.

During 2019, almost 20,000 screenings were done within the Tanner system, utilizing state-of-the-art digital mammography and 3-D mammography for routine mammograms, bone density tests and diagnostic mammograms, for when a potential issue has been detected and more information is needed. Mammograms are offered in the new outpatient center at Tanner Breast Health locations inside the Tanner Health Pavilion, on the campus of Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica, at Higgins General Hospital in Bremen and on Tanner’s Mammography on the Move mobile unit.

Tanner also provides breast ultrasound, an additional imaging process recommended for women who have dense breast tissue that makes it difficult to detect cancer or for more information on a detected mass.

In addition, breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — which uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer — is available in the inpatient imaging center inside Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton.

You can discuss what’s best for your personal needs with your doctor.

Awareness of the life-saving benefits of mammograms is strong, but many women don’t exactly look forward to them, said Venita Steed, RN, program director for Tanner Breast Health and a breast cancer survivor herself.

Most of her team members have more than 20 years of experience assisting patients in the breast centers.

“This is one of the many ways our Tanner team shines and really makes a difference for our patients,” said Steed. “They love what they do.”

“They understand our patients — whether this is their first screening or they’re in for a diagnostic test. We have been in their shoes, understand their apprehension and are ready to assist. Our people are extremely knowledgeable and share that knowledge readily to help patients know what to expect and feel more comfortable throughout their visit,” said Steed.

Scheduling a mammogram is easy — so keep your appointment!

Routine screening mammograms do not require a doctor’s order and can be scheduled by calling Tanner Central Scheduling at 770-812-9721.

You can choose the location that is most convenient for you, including the Tanner Mammography on the Move mobile unit on its next visit to your area. Tanner’s goal is to schedule all screening mammograms within just five days.

A radiologist reviews the imaging. Results are usually available within 24 to 48 business hours. Patients can now receive their results directly through the new Tanner MyChart app on their computer or mobile device.

Routine screening mammograms are covered by most insurance plans as preventive care, paid for through your normal insurance premiums, with no co-pay or out-of-pocket cost involved. No physician’s order is necessary for an annual screening mammogram.

Don’t have insurance?

Through Tanner Foundation’s Mammogram Assistance Fund, patients who do not have insurance may qualify for financial assistance if they meet income and federal guidelines. This is discussed during the registration process.

In addition to donations, the fund is generously supported by Tanner team members and the community through activities including the annual mammogram T-shirt sale and Wedowee’s Bingo for Boobies.

Diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds require a doctor’s order and Tanner Central Scheduling will contact the patient directly to set an appointment after their physician has submitted an order. Results for diagnostic mammograms are provided same day at the Tanner Breast Health in Carrollton and within one to two days at Tanner Breast Health located in Villa Rica.

Once you have an appointment, make sure you write it on your calendar and arrive at your scheduled time. No-show appointments mean you missed out on important care you need, and other patients were not able to use that appointment either.

Newly relocated Tanner Breast Health

Tanner Breast Health relocated its Carrollton location from the West Georgia Specialty Center to the ground floor of the new Tanner Health Pavilion in Fall 2019. The mammography center is located on the left side of the building, beyond the elevators.

Tanner Health Pavilion offers ample, free patient parking. A parking deck is under construction and will be available this fall. Other amenities, including valet parking and the Blue Bike Bistro, are expected to return this summer as normal operations resume.

For patient convenience, Tanner Breast Health in Carrollton is also home to Tanner Boutique, offering personalized support and services for women undergoing and following cancer treatment. The boutique provides wigs, and post-mastectomy bras and camisoles, supported by personal, private consultations with knowledgeable staff.

The mammography center is also conveniently located next to Tanner’s Comprehensive Breast Care Center, a Tanner Medical Group practice led by breast specialist and board-certified surgeon Raul Zunzunegui, MD, for overall breast care and coordination of breast disease treatment.

Safety measures for infection prevention

Patient safety is Tanner’s priority every day and with every patient. Infection prevention practices have been increased due to COVID-19. You’ll notice:

  • Pre-screening of patients before appointments for symptoms and potential COVID-19 exposure

  • Required facial coverings for everyone —staff, patients, visitors — at all Tanner facilities

  • Hand sanitizing stations at all entries, exits and other critical areas

  • Social distance accommodations during patient flow, including appointment scheduling

  • Rigorous and frequent cleaning and sanitizing of Tanner facilities, equipment and surfaces throughout the system

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand hygiene protocols, established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for all healthcare staff

  • One visitor permitted in patient care area for special needs only

  • And daily monitoring of all healthcare staff for illness.

To learn more about breast care and mammography services at Tanner, please visit https://www.tanner.org/cancer-care/what-we-offer/breast-cancer/mammography.