Breast Cancer Diagnosis Tools

Breast scan


Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women – but if detected early, the disease can usually be treated successfully. MUSC Hollings Cancer Center recommends annual mammograms for all women beginning at age 40. With locations in downtown Charleston, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston and West Ashley, we are making it easier than ever for women to schedule their annual mammogram.

Our patients benefit from:

  • Fellowship-trained radiologists who specialize in breast imaging.
  • Same-day appointments when possible.
  • A relaxing, female-friendly atmosphere.
  • Digital mammography for faster and more accurate readings.
  • The American College of Radiology has named MUSC a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. 

Breast MRI

Another important tool for detecting breast cancer is a breast MRI, a non-invasive and very sensitive way of detecting cancer using magnetic resonance imaging. Breast MRI is typically used in conjunction with other tests, often to clarify findings from mammograms or ultrasounds.

Recent recommendations from the American Cancer Society suggest that many high-risk women should be screened routinely with breast MRI. This includes women who have a 20 percent or greater lifetime risk of developing breast cancer based on common risk assessment tools such as the GAIL model. Women who have tested positive for a BRCA gene mutation or have a first-degree relative who has tested positive also should consider breast MRI screening. There are other indications as well, which is why it is very important to discuss risk factors with your doctor.

Breast MRI is most effective and convenient when it is done at a center, like MUSC Health Hollings Cancer Center, that also offers MRI-guided biopsy – that way patients will not have to go to multiple locations and receive repeat studies.

Stereotactic Biopsy

Stereotactic biopsy finds the exact location of a breast lump or suspicious area by using a computer and mammogram results to create a three-dimensional picture of the breast. A sample of tissue is then removed with a needle. This approach allows biopsies to be done in the mammography suite instead of the operating room.

R2 Computer-Aided Diagnosis

This technology double-checks mammograms and highlights suspicious features and abnormalities that might be indicative of cancer.