Breast Cancer

Visit our Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic page.

What it is:

Cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.

How we find it:

A doctor should be seen if changes in the breast are noticed. The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Mammogram: An x-ray of the breast.
  • Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. If a lump in the breast is found, the doctor may need to remove a small piece of the lump. Four types of biopsies are as follows:
    • Excisional biopsy: The removal of an entire lump of tissue.
    • Incisional biopsy: The removal of part of a lump or a sample of tissue.
    • Core biopsy: The removal of tissue using a wide needle.
    • Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy: The removal of tissue or fluid, using a thin needle.
  • Estrogen and progesterone receptor test: A test to measure the amount of estrogen and progesterone (hormones) receptors in cancer tissue. If cancer is found in the breast, tissue from the tumor is checked in the laboratory to find out whether estrogen and progesterone could affect the way cancer grows. The test results show whether hormone therapy may stop the cancer from growing.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).

Recently Diagnosed with Breast Cancer – Information

Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be overwhelming and scary. In order to help make your diagnosis, treatment and recovery journey more manageable, we have put together materials so you can be better informed and supported.

National Cancer Institute

The National Cancer Institute provides a reliable source of information regarding breast cancer including a definition of breast cancer, treatment information, and screening and prevention guidelines. Se puede ver esta página en español.

Their online booklet entitled 'What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer' goes into detail about risk factors, symptoms, staging, treatment, breast reconstruction, complementary and alternative medicine, nutrition and physical activity, follow-up care and sources of support. Se puede ver el libro en español.

MedLine Plus

MedLine is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. In addition to the basics on breast cancer, their informational page also provides information on coping, related issues, breast cancer research, financial issues and law and policy. Se puede ver la información en español.

Patient Education Institute Tutorial on Breast Cancer (MedLine Plus) - provides information on breast cancer in an interactive tutorial format.
Se puede ver en español.

Other Resources

Support Groups

Sometimes during your cancer journey you may feel alone or that you have unanswered questions. Support groups provide a forum for you to open up about your journey with others who are going through similar experiences. The Arizona Cancer Center provides multiple support groups to aid those going through cancer. You can find information and schedules at the University of Arizona Cancer Center website.