More women in rural areas of northwest Georgia will have access to mobile mammograms because of funding for a second mobile mammography coach for Atrium Health Floyd.

U.S. Sen. John Ossoff, D-Ga., announced that money has been earmarked for the mobile mammography unit during a press conference held today at the Harbin Clinic Dr. Tony E. Warren M.D. Cancer Center, home to The Breast Center at Atrium Health Floyd, which has been operating a single mobile coach unit since 2008.

“There are places in rural Georgia where people have to drive two hours just to get to a hospital,” Ossoff said. “I helped secure the $1.1 million in funding for this by working on both sides of the aisle in the Senate. That is what I am supposed to do.”

The new unit will be stationed at the Freestanding Emergency Department  (FSED) being built in Chattooga County, which is scheduled to open later this year. That location will allow the coach to provide complete mammogram services to more women in rural areas who might not have easy access currently. It is not yet known when the new unit will be operational.

“Providing mammography services in rural areas is so important, and it is one reason we plan to base the coach further north, at the new FSED,” said Kurt Stuenkel, president of Atrium Health Floyd.  “It is likely there are women in these rural areas who have undiagnosed breast cancer, and having mobile mammography readily available will make it easier to get a screening mammogram”. 

The existing mobile mammography coach is currently stationed at The Breast Center in Rome and serves the Georgia counties of Bartow, Chattooga, Cobb, Floyd, Gordon, Paulding and Whitfield and three counties in Alabama, Calhoun, Cherokee and Etowah.

In 2022, the coach:

  • Performed 2,580 total screenings
  • Traveled 10,094 miles
  • Recorded 130 abnormalities
  • Diagnosed 4 positive cases of cancer

Inside this rolling mammography coach, specially trained technologists perform mammograms with the same clinical quality and attention to detail that a patient receives from The Breast Center. The vehicle includes a small, comfortable waiting area and state-of-the-art digital mammography equipment.

The coach serves women at their place of work, their place of worship or their local health care provider’s office. Most of those locations receive repeat visits each year, and others are served monthly. 

The unit also offers  3D mammography, which offers better images in dense breast tissue.