SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — St. Joseph’s/Candler said goodbye to longtime oncologist Dr. Susan Mahany on Monday. Dr. Mahany has been an advocate and a healer for women in need of breast procedures for nearly three decades.
Dr. Susan Mahany decided to take a step toward a career to save lives 26 years ago. As a wife and mother, Dr. Mahany was an unconventional medical student.
“I did go to medical school after I had already had children,” Dr. Mahany explained.
Her artistic roots helped guide her interest in becoming a general surgeon.
“I walked into the OR and I’m like ‘this is where I need to be’. I was an art director before I did that, so there’s a lot of symmetry between art and surgery,” Dr. Mahany said.
For many years, Dr. Mahany was the only female general surgeon working alongside some of the best surgeons at St. Joseph’s/Candler.
“And therefore a lot of the women patients wanted to come to a female. And I developed probably 85% of my patients were breast patients.”
She was influential in the establishment of the Telfair Breast Surgery Center. The women’s breast program opened inside Candler Hospital in 2016.
“For me I loved being able to take the patient by the hand and walk them through their journey. It’s a frightening thing to be diagnosed with cancer. And so to have someone who’s your cheerleader, your physician, you know, your friend. That was my goal – for them to feel comfortable with me.”
As a medical director, Dr. Mahany praises breast cancer improvements and patient outcomes.
“When I was in training 30-something years ago, there were two treatments basically for breast cancer patients. You either got chemotherapy or got tamoxifen, and that was it. Now each routine, each treatment is specifically designed for each patient that we see,” Mahany said.
Dr. Mahany shared a touching scrapbook that highlighted special bonds and accomplishments of a doctor that many patients call a calming force.
That same spirit drove Dr. Mahany to support WSAV’s Buddy Check 3 program and WSAV anchor Tina Tyus-Shaw’s inaugural breast health event for teen girls.
“I think the buddy check is one of the best programs ever because you know it does remind people,” Mahany said. “I think I remember saying to the teenagers that year, you’re the only one that is with your body 24/7 for your entire life. You should know what’s going on.”
Dr. Susan Mahany’s message to all: Don’t delay your breast care. Know your body, take care of your breast health.
WSAV News 3 is On Your Side with Buddy Check 3 every third of the month to remind you and your buddies to complete your breast self-exams.
Click or tap here to learn more about the program.
If you have any questions or concerns about breast health, call the SJ/C Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion at 912-819-7053.