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Detecting Breast Cancer Earlier and Easier

Imagine trying to find a specific snowball in the middle of a snowstorm, or a needle in a haystack. Not easy, right? For women with dense breast tissue, finding breast cancer in its early stages can be equally challenging. Thankfully, a new tool at Lexington Medical Center is making that job easier.

mammogramXAs part of a comprehensive program for the diagnosis of breast cancer, Lexington Medical Center now offers 3-D mammography. This new breast cancer screening tool uses a low-dose X-ray to create images of the breast that allow doctors to view tissue one millimeter at a time. The technology creates multiple images within seconds that are similar to the “slices” of images in a CT scan.

“Lexington Medical Center is excited to offer this leading-edge technology for breast cancer screening,” said Dr. Beth Siroty-Smith, director of Women’s Imaging services for Lexington Radiology Associates at Lexington Medical Center. “3-D mammography reduces difficulties in identifying abnormalities in women with denser breast tissue and results in increased cancer detection.”

3-D mammography, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), is currently recommended for women who are having their first screening mammogram or who have dense breast tissue.

The term “dense breasts” refers to the appearance of breast tissue on a mammogram. Dense breast tissue appears as a solid white area, which makes it difficult to see through. Non-dense breast tissue appears dark and transparent.

2D_3D MammographyDense breast tissue can make it more difficult to interpret a mammogram, since cancer and dense breast tissue both appear white on a mammogram. Very dense breasts may increase the risk that cancer won’t be detected on a mammogram.

Studies in The Journal of The American Medical Association have shown that 3-D mammography increases breast cancer detection, and reduces false positives and unnecessary callbacks for patients with dense breast tissue.

Available since this past spring, Lexington Medical Center was the first facility in the Midlands to offer this technology. Women who have completed a 3-D mammography screening at Lexington Medical Center also report that the procedure is less painful and more tolerable than the traditional 2-D mammogram.

The FDA-approved procedure uses the same type of equipment as a 2-D mammogram and a similar dose of radiation. Women who have questions about whether or not they should receive a 3-D mammogram should talk to their doctor.

You may be more likely to have dense breasts if you’re younger. Breast tissue tends to become less dense as you age, although some women have dense breast tissue at any age. Premenopausal women and women who take hormone therapy for menopause are also more likely to have dense breast tissue.

Women who are having a first screening mammogram or whose doctors have told them they have dense breast tissue may schedule a 3-D mammogram at Lexington Medical Center’s Women’s Imaging facility on the main hospital campus in West Columbia. Women’s Imaging will nearly double the number of daily scheduling slots in an effort to accommodate all interested women. Evening and weekend hours will also soon be available. To schedule an appointment, please call (803) 791-2486.

In addition to being an American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, Lexington Medical Center’s breast program has accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and the cancer program has accreditation with commendation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

For more information, visit

“Holes in the Heart”

Join Lexington Medical Center cardiologist Robert A. Leonardi, MD, FACC in Sumter on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 for a free presentation called “Holes in the Heart.” The event is part of Lexington Medical Center’s quarterly patient education series in Sumter, featuring medical topics that are important to our community.

Dr. Robert Leonardi

Dr. Robert Leonardi

“Holes in the Heart” will take place on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. inside Sumter Cardiology at 540 Physicians Lane in Sumter.

Lexington Medical Center’s full range of cardiac services includes non-surgical closure for “holes in the heart” known as atrial septal defects (ASDs) and patent foramen ovale (PFO).

Courtesy: American Heart Association

Courtesy: American Heart Association

ASD and PFO are congenital heart defects, meaning that people are born with them. Many patients are unaware of these “holes in the heart,” which can cause heart failure and have been associated with increased risk of stroke. Dr. Leonardi will discuss the problems these holes can cause, how they are diagnosed, and available treatments.

Affiliated with Duke Medicine, Lexington Medical Center offers comprehensive cardiovascular care with state-of-the-art technology. That includes open heart surgery, catheterizations, angioplasty, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to replace the aortic valve with a catheter instead of open heart surgery, and an electrophysiology program that diagnoses and treats abnormal heart rhythms known as cardiac arrhythmias.

Lexington Medical Center has full chest pain accreditation with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), demonstrating its ability to quickly assess, diagnose and treat heart attack patients. And, the hospital is a Primary Stroke Center, excelling at treating stroke patients promptly.

Dr. Leonardi is a physician with Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

At the patient education presentation, light refreshments will be served. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. For more information, visit

Cardiac Rehabilitation Boosts Heart Health in Irmo

WIS-TV visited our new cardiac rehabilitation facility conveniently located in Irmo. The 2,500 square foot facility located inside the Irmo Medical Park at 7033 St. Andrews Rd. is the first cardiac rehabilitation facility in the Irmo area.

Cardiac Rehabilitation is a medically supervised program designed to optimize a cardiac patient’s physical, psychological and social functioning, in addition to stabilizing, slowing or even reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease.

People who benefit from cardiac rehabilitation include patients with a history of heart attack, angioplasty or stenting, heart valve surgery, heart transplant, angina, heart failure or heart bypass surgery.

Statistics show that people who participate in cardiac rehabilitation are up to 46% less likely to die of a cardiac event than those who do not take part.

WIS-TV interviewed one of our patients there, who suffered a heart attack in January, along with cardiac rehabilitation supervisor Mark Stout.

Lexington Medical Center has offered cardiac rehabilitation at its main hospital in West Columbia for more than 20 years and at the hospital’s community medical center in Lexington since 2002.

Along with closely monitored exercise training, there are education classes addressing topics such as heart disease risk factors, healthy nutrition, weight management, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, managing diabetes, and understanding stress and your emotions.

Cardiac rehabilitation provides better outcomes and better quality of life.

For more information about Cardiac Rehabilitation at Lexington Medical Center, visit