Screening mammograms added to services at West Ashley site; full breast center in works

September 28, 2022
a woman in black scrubs stands next to a mammography machine
Radiology technologist LaPrea Champion-Patterson stands ready to assist women in getting their annual screening mammograms. Photo by Dawn Brazell

To make breast cancer screening even more accessible to local communities, MUSC Hollings Cancer Center and MUSC Health are now offering screening mammograms in West Ashley.

MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion – located within the Citadel Mall – began offering screening mammograms in February. Teresa Harrison, radiology operations manager for mammography, said the new location seems to be a well-kept secret, but the team is eager to get the word out, especially so that women in West Ashley, James Island and Johns Island know that they can get their annual mammograms closer to home.

Radiologist Rebecca Leddy, M.D., said it’s all part of Hollings’ mission to reduce the cancer burden in South Carolina.

“Our mission is to be in the community where the patients work and live and to offer them services and a convenient high-quality care situation – so we’re bringing our high-quality services beyond just the downtown cancer center location,” she said.

Hollings also offers screening mammograms in Mount Pleasant at the MUSC Health East Cooper Medical Pavilion and North Charleston at the MUSC Health North Area Medical Pavilion. Between the four locations, it is easy to get an appointment quickly, Leddy said.

Yearly screening mammograms are critical because they can help to catch cancer in an early stage, when it is more treatable. The West Ashley site includes the latest in 3D tomosynthesis mammography to allow for better detection.

Additional services are in the works. Plans are underway to add diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound, breast procedures and breast MRI at the West Ashley site next year and for breast surgeons to offer appointments there. Breast MRI is also expected to be available at the East Cooper location by the end of this year.

Harrison and Leddy are both enthusiastic about the West Ashley site. Leddy said she saw the benefits of the location for herself when she brought a family member to an appointment there.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this space is amazing!’ You can park right out front with easy access to your appointment. I went to Target and got our prescription, got a Starbucks, and I said, ‘This is where we need to be for breast imaging. Our patients will love it,’” she said.

“The parking alone sold me,” she added.

The West Ashley location gives people more options to choose where they would like to go for high-quality screening.

image of a building 
Screening mammograms are now available at the West Ashley Medical Pavilion at the Citadel Mall. Photo by Brennan Wesley

Who should get screening mammograms?

  • Women at average risk should begin yearly screening mammograms at age 40.
  • Women at higher risk of breast cancer may benefit from a consult with the High-Risk Breast Evaluation Program. Risk factors include:
  • Personal history of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Family history of cancer: breast (especially males and those over 40 years of age) and/or other specific cancers (ovarian, skin, prostate, colon, thyroid, pancreas).
  • Atypical hyperplasia or LCIS on previous breast biopsy.
  • Inherited genetic mutations: People who carry certain gene variants (e.g., BRCA1, BRCA2) are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.
  • Obesity.
  • Alcohol consumption: drinking more than one to two drinks a day.
  • Radiation: especially during younger years.
  • High breast density on mammogram.
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.
  • Estrogen exposure:
  • Early menstruation – before age 12.
  • Late menopause – after age 55.
  • Never pregnant.
  • Late pregnancy – after age 30.