Better Health Radio
Minimally Invasive Breast Biopsy
In this podcast, Dr. Craig Brackett talks about the advanced technology behind a minimally invasive alternative to surgical biopsy.
Genetic Testing Breast Cancer
Curious about your genetic odds of developing breast cancer? Dr. Mislowsky discusses a new procedure to help you know your risk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Should I bring a list of my medications to my office visit?
A. Yes. This is important information that needs to be documented in your record.
Q. Do I have to pay at the time of service?
A. Yes. It is part of your contract with your insurance carrier that you pay co-pays and co-insurance at the time of service.
Q. How early should I arrive for my appointment?
A. Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment times. New patients should arrive 30 minutes early.
Q. How can I get a copy of my medical records?
A. You are entitled to a copy of your medical records. Please call our office, and our staff will be happy to assist you.
Q. Who should I contact with billing questions?
A. You may contact our central billing office at 843-652-8105.
- Absolute Total Care
- BCHP Medicaid
- Care Improvement Plus
- Instil Health - Tricare Prime
- RR Medicare
- Select Health
- Tricare - Standard
- VA - Veterans Choice Program
- US Department of Labor - Worker's Comp Program - Federal Employees
At Tidelands Health Breast Center, your care, your peace of mind and your comfort are our top priorities. You can count on us to coordinate your treatment, consult with other experts on the best care for you and support you and your family through your health care journey. Our team of specialists includes surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, nurses, breast health navigators, a clinical trial director and physicists who work together to bring you high-quality care.
Our breast health navigators are here to coordinate your clinical, educational and support needs. Click here to contact a breast health navigator.
During your first visit, a detailed history about your family and your health will be taken. We will review your mammogram and other diagnostic results and discuss these in detail with you. Click here to download and complete your patient history form.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Early breast cancer does not usually cause physical pain, and symptoms may not be noticeable. As the cancer grows, it can cause changes that include:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- A change in the shape or size of the breast
- Nipple discharge or tenderness
- Inverted nipple
- Ridges or pitting of the breast (resembling the skin of an orange)
- A change in the way the skin of the breast, nipple or areola, the dark area surrounding the nipple, looks or feels – it may feel warm or swollen or appear red or scaly
- A sore or ulcer on the breast that does not heal
Types of Breast Cancer
There are multiple types of breast cancer. Our expert physicians and professional staff can develop a customized treatment plan for your needs. Types of breast cancer include:
Ductal carcinoma in situ - Also known as pre-invasive breast cancer, DCIS is treatable and highly curable. In DCIS, abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct but have not spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast.
Invasive breast cancer - Invasive cancers have started to break through normal breast tissue barriers and have the potential to spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Invasive breast cancer is categorized as stage I, II, III or IV.
Inflammatory breast cancer - With inflammatory breast cancer, or IBC, cancer cells block the lymph vessels of the skin of the breast, causing the breast to appear red or inflamed. Unlike other types of breast cancer, IBC generally does not present with a lump.
Metastatic breast cancer - Metastatic breast cancer has spread from the breast to other distant parts of the body. Surgery is less commonly part of the treatment plan but may be included in some circumstances.
Breast Cancer Treatment
A mastectomy is no longer the only option for a patient facing breast cancer.
Thanks to advances in detection and surgical techniques, procedures to conserve breast tissue are much more common. These procedures are often done in combination with chemotherapy or radiation. Your care team will develop a coordinated treatment plan based on your needs and your specific type of cancer while also helping you maintain your quality of life during and after treatment. We encourage your participation in the decision-making process.
We offer several breast cancer treatment options:
Sentinel lymph node biopsy - Sentinel lymph node biopsy is the removal of one or a few of the first draining lymph nodes -- the glands under your arm-- to determine whether cancer cells have spread beyond the breast.
Axillary lymph node dissection - Axillary lymph node dissection is the removal of nodes below the axillary vein and close to the breast.
Lumpectomy - A lumpectomy, also known as wide excision or partial mastectomy, involves surgical removal of the cancer with a rim of normal tissue. Lumpectomy may be an option when the cancer is localized to one area of the breast. The benefits of lumpectomy include conservation of the breast and nipple, and the surgery is as effective in treating cancer as a mastectomy in appropriate cases. Typically, radiation treatment is recommended after lumpectomy.
Mastectomy - Mastectomy, or removal of the entire breast, may be medically necessary if the cancer has spread beyond a single mass. It may also be necessary when early stage cancer exists in multiple locations. In some cases, choosing mastectomy over lumpectomy may make further radiation treatment unnecessary.
There are four types of mastectomies: total, modified, skin sparing and nipple sparing. If you undergo a mastectomy, be assured our team will meet with you to discuss the options available to you, including breast conservation and reconstruction, and work to help ensure the best possible outcome.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis
How we diagnose breast cancer
Thanks to advances in imaging technology and public awareness, breast cancer can be diagnosed in its early stages, leading to improved survival rates. Tests we use to screen for and diagnose breast cancer include:
Mammogram - An X-ray of the breast that can find tumors that are too small to feel.
3D Mammography – 3D imaging allows your doctor to examine each layer of the breast. 3D mammography may increase doctors' ability to find some cancers while also lowering the risk of false positive evaluations. Tidelands Health was the first health system in our region to offer 3D mammography.
Ultrasound - Uses sound waves to evaluate lumps identified through breast exam or mammography; also used in evaluation of dense breasts.
MRI - Can detect tumors with greater accuracy in certain types of breast tissue or if cancer is suspected; also used to guide the needle during a breast biopsy.
Biopsies are performed when a diagnostic imaging test reveals an abnormal finding that cannot be resolved through other imaging techniques. Biopsy involves the removal of a small sample of tissue through one of several techniques. The choice of technique depends on the location and quality of the tissue to be examined.
Fine needle aspiration - A thin needle is inserted into the suspicious area of the breast to remove fluid or cells from a breast lump for further evaluation or testing.
Core needle biopsy – A larger, hollow needle is used to remove a small amount of tissue from the breast for further evaluation. When a slightly larger tissue sample is needed for a definitive diagnosis, a clinician will use a hollow needle to withdraw a thin cylinder from the suspicious area. This type of biopsy requires local anesthesia.
Image-guided core needle biopsy - Ultrasound, mammography or MRI is used to guide the removal of tissue using a hollow needle.
Surgical biopsy – A surgical biopsy is performed when other techniques may not provide enough information to diagnose or rule out breast cancer. During surgical biopsy, radiologists and surgeons work to remove all or part of a suspicious mass. In some cases, if the lump can't be felt, a wire is inserted to guide the surgeon to the specific location.
Once a biopsy is completed, tissue samples are examined by our pathologists who specialize in breast cancer. Their findings are critical to determine the best treatment for you.
Breast Cancer Resources
Support and Survivorship
As you or your loved one receives treatment for breast cancer, a support group at Tidelands Health offers encouragement, advice and friendship. Once you complete your treatment, our program can help you stay well physically and emotionally. Please ask your health care navigator about our support group meetings.
Breast Cancer Risk Assessment
Many risk factors are associated with the development of breast cancer. These include the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes, a prior breast cancer diagnosis, a family history of breast cancer, late first pregnancy, obesity and long-term hormone replacement therapy. The National Cancer Institute assessment tool used to determine an individual's risk for developing breast cancer takes into account a woman’s age, race, prior history of cancer and family history. Click here to take the risk assessment.
We know you may have many more questions about breast health and breast cancer. For more information, please visit our online health library.