Breast cancer specialists in Myrtle Beach

We know that a breast cancer diagnosis can be scary. That's why the compassionate staff at Grand Strand Health is committed to providing comprehensive treatment and resources every step of the way. You can trust our breast cancer team to be there for you to create a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs.

To learn more about the breast cancer services at Grand Strand Medical Center, please call (843) 692-1969.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells multiply in one or both breasts. These cells may invade nearby tissues and form a mass called a malignant tumor. The cancer cells can spread (metastasize) to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. If found early, breast cancer can often be cured without removing the breast.

What causes breast cancer?

Certain risk factors can contribute to your likelihood of developing breast cancer. Risk factors that you cannot change include:

  • Being a woman
  • Getting older
  • Genetics
  • Having a history of radiation treatment to the chest
  • Your race and ethnicity (white women have slightly higher risk for getting breast cancer than African-American women, and Asian, Hispanic and Native American women have even less of a risk)

There are also risk factors related to your lifestyle that you may be able to change. This includes:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Not breastfeeding
  • Not having children or not having children until after you are 30 years old
  • Using hormone therapy after menopause

Many women who have these risk factors do not get breast cancer. Additionally, many women who get breast cancer do not have any known risk factors other than being female and getting older.

Breast cancer risk assessment

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

It's important to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer so you can seek medical attention for further testing. Symptoms of breast cancer can include:

  • A change in the way the breast feels (the most common symptom is a painless lump or thickening in the breast or underarm)
  • A change in the way the breast looks (the skin on the breast may dimple or look like an orange peel, or the size and shape of the breast may change)
  • A change in the nipple (it may turn in, or the skin around it may look scaly)
  • Fluid that drains from the nipple

How is breast cancer treated?

Most people undergo a surgical procedure to remove cancer. You might also undergo radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hormone therapy before surgery to help shrink the cancer. The surgeon may remove some of the lymph nodes under your arm to determine if the cancer has spread to this area.

Depending on the cancer stage, your doctor may recommend:

  • Breast-conserving surgery or a lumpectomy to remove just the cancer from the breast (several weeks of radiation after surgery are usually recommended)
  • Surgery to remove the breast (a mastectomy)

If you choose to have a mastectomy, you can have an operation to create a new breast (breast reconstruction). Sometimes, radiation is not needed after a mastectomy.

How do you determine what treatment is best for you?

Historically, breast cancer meant having your breast removed. This is no longer true. Studies show that with early-stage cancer, breast-conserving surgery followed by radiation therapy can be as effective as mastectomy. You and your doctor will decide which group of treatments is right for you.

Learning that you have breast cancer can cause a range of feelings, from sadness and fear to anger and despair. If your emotions are making it hard to move ahead, tell your doctor. You may benefit from counseling or a support group. Talking with other people who have faced the same choices can be a big help.

Can breast cancer be prevented?

You cannot control some things that put you at risk for breast cancer, such as your gender and age. However, you can change other risk factors to stay as healthy as possible.

Here's what you can do:

  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Have regular exams and mammograms
  • If you drink alcohol, limit the amount
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Make exercise a routine part of your life

How do I schedule a mammogram?

As part of our commitment to providing advanced breast health services, we offer three different locations for mammogram screening services. These locations are:

The Breast Center

945 82nd Parkway

Myrtle Beach, SC 29572

Carolina Forest Imaging Center

199 Village Center Blvd., Suite 110

Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

South Strand Medical Center

5050 Highway 17 Bypass

Myrtle Beach, SC 29588

You can schedule a mammogram online or by calling (888) 858-9936.