Specialty Centers  > Breast Center  > Diagnosis 


Our team of experienced breast imaging specialists and pathologists use diagnostic mammograms, ultrasound, magnetic resonance (MR), needle biopsy and a built-in second-opinion pathology review process to make an accurate diagnosis in just 24-48 hours.

To schedule a mammogram at Palmetto Health Breast Center, call 803-296-8888.

What if I notice a change during a self-breast exam or feel a lump?

  • Contact your doctor to notify them of the change.
  • You will be referred to the Breast Center for a diagnostic evaluation.
  • Once a suspicious lump is detected, it's usually 24 to 48 hours from the time of biopsy to diagnosis.?

What if my routine screening mammogram is abnormal?

  • The Breast Center will contact you to schedule an appointment for additional evaluation.
  • Diagnostic evaluations may include additional mammogram images, an ultrasound or MRI.
  • Diagnostics are performed on the two main campuses: Palmetto Health Baptist and Palmetto Health Richland.?

What if I need a biopsy?

  • The breast imaging specialists/radiologists can perform a needle biopsy in the mammography suite on an outpatient basis. More than 97% of our diagnostic patients have this minimally invasive breast biopsy.
  • In a biopsy, the doctor removes some of the suspicious tissue and sends it to the laboratory for analysis. This biopsy of breast tissue helps physicians make a diagnosis and plan appropriate follow up or treatment.
  • Once a suspicious lump is detected, it's usually 24 to 48 hours from the time of biopsy to diagnosis.
  • If a cancer diagnosis is made, pathologists microscopically determine the type, or histology (there are many kinds of breast cancer), the grade (how aggressive the cancer is), the cancer stage (how large and widespread the cancer is), and whether or not the cancer is localized (in situ) or invasive.
  • Not all biopsies turn out to be cancer. Sometimes the pathologist determines the patient has a benign condition or perhaps one that may be a precursor to cancer and needs to be monitored.?

When is an MR (or MRI) needed?
Mammography is the best tool for evaluating breast tissue and routine screening for breast cancer. In some cases, MR may be indicated. This is a decision your breast imaging specialist/radiologist would discuss with you.

  • Magnetic resonance breast imaging (MRI or MR) is used as a supplemental tool, in addition to mammography, to help diagnose breast cancer. 
  • Breast MR with computer-aided detection (CAD) is used to investigate breast concerns first detected with mammography, physical exam, or ultrasound. 
  • MR is excellent at imaging the augmented breast, including both the breast implant itself and the breast tissue surrounding the implant. 
  • MR guided breast biopsy is useful for staging breast cancer and determining the most appropriate treatment.