Breast Cancer Program
A diagnosis of breast cancer can be difficult and unsettling. At Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, our goal is to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer treatment means you will find all your health care needs in one place.
From screening and treatment to support and recovery, our cancer experts will be with you every step of the way. Our highly skilled physicians, nurses and staff provide excellent and compassionate medical care, education and support to meet a woman’s needs when faced with a breast cancer diagnosis.
Our Breast Cancer Team
Our multidisciplinary breast cancer team includes:
- Radiologists focused solely on breast imaging
- Medical oncologists specialized in breast cancer treatment
- Breast surgeons
- Plastic and reconstructive surgeons
- Radiation oncologists
- Palliative care physician
- Clinical nurse navigators
- Oncology certified nurses
- Social workers
- Genetic counselors
- Exercise physiologist
Screening and Diagnostic Imaging
Our Women’s Imaging Center provides comprehensive screening and diagnostic imaging services. We use both digital mammography and 3D tomosynthesis to obtain the most precise breast images. Additional diagnostic tools include breast ultrasound, breast MRI, biopsy (ultrasound guided, stereotactic and MRI), cyst aspiration, ductogram, needle localization and lymph nodes biopsy.
Genetic Counseling and Testing
The Clinical Cancer Genetic Program at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center coordinates genetic testing and high-risk cancer surveillance for individuals and their families with heredity cancer syndromes. Although most cancers are not inherited, about five to 10 percent of people with breast cancer have a hereditary condition, often due to a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. For more information, please call (480) 256-6444.
Undiagnosed Breast Clinic
Women with an abnormal mammogram or breast lump may be referred by their primary care physician or gynecologist to our Undiagnosed Breast Clinic. In this clinic, physicians work with patients to identify a diagnosis. Not all abnormal mammograms mean cancer. However, if breast cancer is found, patients can be referred directly to our breast cancer physicians to discuss treatment options. For more information, please call (480) 256-6444.
Our expert surgeons specialize in breast cancer surgery and breast reconstruction. There are several options for both breast surgery and reconstruction. Patients are encouraged to speak with their physicians about the best options for their care.
Our experienced medical oncologists treat only breast cancer patients, and are experts in their field. Medical oncologists manage your overall treatment plan, including chemotherapy and other medications. These physicians can provide access to clinical trials for early stage and advanced breast cancers for patients who meet study requirements. This may be an option for some patients treated at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Many forms of radiation therapy are used to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may be given by a machine outside the body or by putting special materials that produce radiation inside the body. Our experienced radiation oncologists work directly with patients and the multidisciplinary team to determine the best treatment options.
Our plastic and reconstructive surgeons can recreate all or part of a breast that has been surgically removed. This is done using a breast implant, or tissue from another part of the body. The goal of reconstruction is to make breasts look natural and balanced when the patient is wearing clothing.
Clinical Nurse Navigators
The clinical nurse navigators work with patients and families to ensure they receive fully integrated, holistic care that addresses their unique emotional, physical and psychological needs. These registered nurses, with backgrounds in oncology nursing, are liaisons between patients and medical teams. They help identify and overcome challenges that may hinder recovery, and even help coordinate complex appointments and procedures.
Our palliative care physician can provide pain and symptom control to help maximize quality of life during and after treatment. Specifically for breast cancer patients, palliative care can focus on improving range of motion and chronic pain, scar massage, and monitoring for lymphedema. Patients can also learn stretching techniques that can help decrease pain after surgery and keep tissues more mobile. Patients can talk with their physicians about a referral to the palliative care program.
Lymphedema is swelling that can occur when there is an interruption of normal lymphatic flow in the body. The interruption can occur as a result of surgery, radiation, infection or trauma. For breast cancer patients who develop these symptoms, our lymphedema management program can help manage and overcome this condition.