We understand a breast cancer diagnosis is a challenging and emotional journey filled with uncertainty and countless questions. Our team of specialists will be by your side through it all. You can expect to receive our all questions answered, exceptional expertise and know how much I matter kind of care.
The second most common cancer for women in the United States, although men can develop it too, breast cancer begins to grow in the cells of one of both breasts. Signs of breast cancer don’t always start with a lump and can also show up as subtle changes in the breast tissue. However, it’s important to note that most breast lumps are benign (not cancerous), but some types of benign breast lumps can increase your risk of getting breast cancer.
Breast cancer survival rates have been steadily increasing over the years due to awareness, earlier detection and advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of the cancer. If you notice any lumps or changes to your breast, talk to your doctor.
If you notice any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor right away:
- A lump, hard knot or thickening in the breast
- A lump under your arm
- A change in the size or shape of your breast
- A breast that feels warm or swollen
- A change in skin color and texture such as dimpling, puckering or redness
- Nipple pain, tenderness or discharge, including bleeding
- A nipple turning inward or inverted
- Itchiness, scales, soreness or a rash on your nipple
- Assigned female at birth
- Began your menstrual periods before age 12 or entered menopause after age 55
- Over the age of 40
- Never had children or had your first child after age 30
- Never breastfed
- Overweight or obese and not physically active
- Smoking or using tobacco in any way
- Drink alcohol in excess
- Are currently using or have recently used birth control pills
- Used hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with estrogen and progesterone for more than 10 years
- Have mutations of BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2 or other genes
- Have a family history of breast, colorectal or ovarian cancer (if you have a family history of cancer, talk to your doctor about genetic testing)
- Had high-dose radiation therapy on your chest
- Have already had cancer in one breast or your chest
Different tests can be used to look for and diagnose breast cancer. If your doctor finds an area of concern on a screening mammogram, or if you have symptoms that could mean breast cancer, you’ll need more tests to confirm a diagnosis, such as:
- Diagnostic Mammogram
- Breast Ultrasound
- Breast MRI
- Breast Biopsy
Breast Cancer Treatment
Treatment depends on your type and stage of the breast cancer. In some cases, it’s necessary to remove the entire breast (mastectomy) or the abnormal portion of the breast (lumpectomy). Some treatments can work alone and some in combination with other treatments. Treatments include:
- Chemotherapy drugs destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or reproducing.
- Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to damage the building blocks of cancer cells and stop them from growing or spreading. It can cause the tumor to shrink, and in some cases, die.
- Hormone therapy alters hormone levels in the body to treat cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy enhances the body’s immune system to recognize and attach cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy focuses on specific molecules or pathways involved in the growth and survival of caner cells, aiming to block their activity reducing growth and promoting cell death.
Breast Cancer Prevention
- Maintain a healthy weight by exercising and making healthy food choices
- Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, 5 days a week
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods to keep your weight at a healthy level and avoid excess sugar, fat and processed foods
- Never smoke or use tobacco - if you do, quit
- Breastfeeding may lower a woman’s risk
- Limit alcohol intake
- A man should have no more than 2 drinks per day and a woman no more than 1 drink per day
- The more you drink, the greater your risk of cancer. Even drinking small amounts might increase your risk
- Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and reduce stress
- Stay on top of cancer screenings - early detection saves lives
- Know your family history
Breast Cancer Screening
- Most women of average risk will start mammogram screening in their 40s.
- Your primary care provider will talk with you about when to get started and how often is right for you. If you have a family history of breast cancer, please share this information with your doctor.
- In addition to mammograms, breast self-awareness is important. This means knowing how your breasts normally look and feel, which helps you notice any changes.
- If you’re a transgender individual, discuss specific breast cancer screening needs with your doctor.
Screening mammograms are the best tool for early detection of breast cancer.
Our Cancer Centers
Each cancer experience is unique, and that’s why our experienced cancer center teams are committed to using the latest treatments and clinical research to provide you with advanced care close to home.