Center for Breast Health

The Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Center for Breast Health at St. Francis is the premier facility in our region dedicated to improving women’s health.

Not only was St. Francis first in the region, but first in the state of Georgia to offer diagnostic Automated Whole-Breast Ultrasound (AWBUS) and Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI). We were among the first to provide 3-D mammography (tomosynthesis) and a dedicated Breast MRI.

Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI)

St. Francis was also the first hospital in Georgia to offer Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) with the addition of the Dilon 6800 gamma camera. BSGI is another one of the more advanced tools aiding in the early diagnosis of breast disease and breast cancer. It is pain-free, effective and the next non-invasive step when mammography results are inconclusive. BSGI is especially useful for:

  • Patients with difficult to diagnose breast abnormalities
  • Patients which are technically difficult to image  (such as breast implants or extremely dense breast tissue)
  • Patients unable to undergo breast MRI because of their prior health history (such as a pacemaker or other device that would prevent the use of MRI)
  • High risk patients with a personal history of breast cancer and/or a strong family history of breast cancer
  • Used as another diagnostic tool before further treatment plans are outlined

BSGI is a very sensitive test with fewer false alarms than MRI, and while it’s not a replacement for MRI, it is another excellent diagnostic tool. BSGI is less expensive than MRI, more comfortable for most patients, and covered by most insurance including Medicare, according to Lynn Thompson, administrative director of the Center for Breast Health.

BSGI works by using a small amount of a radiotracer agent that is absorbed by the body’s cells. Screening with BSGI takes about 45-60 minutes, and unlike a mammogram, there is no compression of the breast.

3-D Mammography (or Tomosynthesis)

St. Francis also offers 3-D mammography (also known as breast tomosynthesis). For this, the breast is compressed once and a machine takes many low-dose x-rays as it moves over the breast. A computer then puts the images together into a 3-dimensional picture. While this screening uses more radiation than most standard 2-view mammograms, it also allow doctors to see the breast tissues more clearly. Some studies have suggested it might lower the chance of being called back for follow-up testing. It may also be able to find more cancers.

In fact, a study recenty published in JAMA Oncology has confirmed that 3-D mammography does find breast cancers earlier. The study looked at three years of data on breast cancer screening with 3-D mammograms.

"These findings reaffirm that 3-D mammography is a better mammogram for breast cancer screening," said Emily Conant, M.D., chief of breast imaging at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who was the senior author of the study. Dr. Conant also is a member of the Breastcancer.org Professional Advisory Board. "These results are an important step toward informing policies so that all women can receive 3-D mammography for screening."

The study was published online on Feb. 18, 2016 by JAMA Oncology. You can read the abstract here:  “Effectiveness of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Compared With Digital Mammography: Outcomes Analysis From 3 Years of Breast Cancer Screening.” For more information on breast cancer screenings, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.

Automated Whole-Breast Ultrasound (AWBUS)

St. Francis was the first hospital in the state of Georgia to provide Automated Whole-Breast Ultrasound (AWBUS).

blinded study of this system combined with screening mammography showed that adding AWBUS both doubles overall cancer detection and triples the 1 cm-or-less invasive cancers found in dense-breasted women. Another study showed that adding AWBUS to mammography improved callback rates, accuracy of breast cancer detection, and confidence in callbacks for dense-breasted women.

Providing access to outstanding technology is only part of our commitment. Because we understand the importance of staying healthy for both yourself and your family, we make it a priority to convey information clearly and accurately through a variety of services and wellness programs.

We’re solely focused on you and your breast health.

We want you to expect exceptional and professional care here. As a center that focuses exclusively on breast imaging and diagnostics, our radiologists have among them more than 50 years of experience, along with advanced training in BSGI and dedicated breast MRI.

Our technologists are also specially trained in breast imaging and provide our physicians with outstanding support.

A breast exam or procedure can be an anxious time and we make sure you are comfortable and relaxed. You’ll find private dressing rooms, a calming environment, and a staff both sensitive to your needs and respectful of your time.

Our physicians and staff are here to answers any questions you may have about mammography, ultrasound, biopsy, and general breast health.

Park at our front door and relax in a pleasant atmosphere as we perform your scheduled test or procedure. Additionally when you visit our facility, while you wait for your exam, please enjoy the beautiful artwork located throughout the facility.

The Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Center for Breast Health
St. Francis Hospital
Butler Pavilion 
2300 Manchester Expressway, Suite A001
Columbus, Georgia 31904
706-257-7700