The Southeast Georgia Health System breast cancer team
ST. MARYS, Georgia: October 27, 2021 – Hearing the words, “You have breast cancer,” is a terrifying moment, but with a dedicated and talented health care team at your side, the experience is a little less daunting. The Southeast Georgia Health System breast cancer team in St. Marys consists of a multidisciplinary group of professionals, including general surgeons, Damon Brantley, M.D., and Benjamin Bograd, D.O.; mammography technologists, Sherry Brophy, RT(R)(M), AART, and Alicia Taylor-Anderson, RT(R)(M); and, nurse navigator, Karen Crosby, R.N., BSN, to help guide each patient through his or her journey back to health.
A board-certified general surgeon and the chief of the Department of Surgery on the Camden Campus, Brantley practices at Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-General Surgery. “I love fixing problems and the closure that surgery and interventional medicine provides. The depth and breadth of medicine is encompassed in general surgery,” explains Brantley.
Of all the many surgeries he performs, Brantley is especially passionate about his work at the Health System’s Camden Campus Cancer Care Center. “Our collaborative approach stems from commitment: the hospital is committed to investing in technology, and our team is committed to learning the latest procedures,” Brantley says. “It’s hard to believe that our Cancer Care Center exists in small-town St. Marys, because it can easily compete with facilities located in major cities. We offer our patients high level care in a community setting.”
Prior to joining the Health System’s medial staff, Bograd served 12 years in the U.S. Navy. A board-certified general surgeon, he joined Brantley at Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-General Surgery in 2020. Like Brantley, he believes there are many advantages to receiving care close to home. “A cancer diagnosis is a life-altering moment. When people have access to comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer care close to home, they’re freed from the expense and difficulty of travel, and able to receive support from their hometown community. Plus, many of our team members also live in this community, so we’re truly friends and family taking care of friends and family.”
The Cancer Care Center on the Camden Campus offers the full spectrum of diagnostic to surgical options for patients, including ultrasound and stereotactic biopsy with lumpectomy and mastectomy. In addition to quality care, Bograd also ensures that patients receive personalized care. “I treat every patient like family, providing the care I would want my wife or mother to receive.”
Brantley and Bograd are supported by expert diagnosticians, Brophy and Taylor-Anderson. Both mammography technologists are highly skilled in performing breast imaging and pride themselves on their compassion as well as their medical expertise.
“When we serve patients, we are the caring faces, the healing hands, the listening ears, the comforting words and the compassionate care of the Health System,” Brophy says.
Taylor-Anderson agrees, adding. “Our work aids in preventing and treating breast disease. We play an impactful role in the community.” As an African-American woman, Taylor-Anderson’s job takes on even greater meaning when patients of color congratulate her for playing a role in cancer care. “I’m not the first Black mammography technologist, but it’s still very humbling.”
On the front lines of early diagnosis for breast cancer, Brophy and Taylor-Anderson experience many inspiring patient interactions. An older patient once told Brophy she planned to stop getting mammograms because of her age. When Brophy shared statistics indicating that older women actually have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, the patient decided to return the following year. At that appointment, it turned out she had developed breast cancer.
“The patient said she came back due to the information I shared with her. This is why we take the time to educate patients. We want them to live to see their grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” Brophy says.
Thanks to the Georgia HEART (Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment) Hospital Program, the Health System was able to add digital 3D mammography to the Camden Campus in 2020. The 3D technology produces clearer, more accurate images than 2D mammograms and detects 20 to 65 percent more of invasive cancers. Additionally, the 3D method does a better job of finding cancer in people with dense breast tissue.
From Brantley’s perspective, the Cancer Care Center’s mission is enhanced because of its location in a tightly-knit community. He routinely encounters patients when he runs errands. “The community sees me as an extension of their family and friends. That’s why, like my team, I treat patients with the same care as I would my own family.”
To schedule a mammogram in St. Marys, call 912-576-6190. To talk to a nurse navigator regarding your breast health journey, call 912-466-5202. For more information on the Georgia HEART Hospital Program, visit sghs.org/GA-HEART.
About Southeast Georgia Health System
Southeast Georgia Health System is a not-for-profit health system comprised of two acute care hospitals, two long term care facilities, two comprehensive Cancer Care Centers and multiple specialty care centers, including orthopedic and spine care, joint replacement, breast care, maternity, outpatient rehabilitation, sleep management and wound care. The Brunswick Campus Cancer Care Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and offers the only CyberKnife® M6 with MLC technology in Georgia. Additionally, the Southeast Georgia Physician Associates medical group includes more than 140 providers working in 20 different medical specialties at more than 50 locations. The Health System is part of Coastal Community Health, a regional affiliation between Baptist Health and Southeast Georgia Health System forming a highly integrated hospital network focused on significant initiatives designed to enhance the quality and value of care provided to our contiguous communities. For more information, visit sghs.org.