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What are the types of breast cancer?
Traditionally, most breast cancers have been classified as either ductal or lobular. Lobular carcinomas start in the breasts’ milk-producing glands, called the lobules. Ductal carcinomas start in the cells of the milk ducts, which carry milk from the lobules to the nipples.
Both can be non-invasive, meaning the diseased cells have not spread into surrounding normal tissue. Non-invasive diseases are by definition early in the cancer development process. In fact, non-invasive lobular carcinoma is so early that it’s not even classified as cancer. Instead it is considered a cancer risk factor and may not even require surgery.
Both ductal and lobular carcinomas can also be invasive, meaning the cancer has spread beyond the lobule or duct where it first started into nearby tissue.
Breast cancer treatments are designed around several factors, including whether the cancer is ductal or lobular and invasive or non-invasive.
For invasive breast cancers, another key factor is the molecular receptor status of the cancer cells.
What are molecular receptors?
Receptors are molecules that cancer cells produce on their surface. These receptors can interact or bind with specific proteins and hormones in the patient’s body. This interaction is known as recognition.
Researchers have identified certain receptors that fuel the growth and spread of breast cancer when they recognize, or bind, with a specific molecule. By interrupting this recognition with new cancer drugs, the disease’s growth can be slowed or stopped.
Currently there are three major receptor subtypes that play important roles in the patient’s prognosis and treatment. As research into breast cancer continues, more subtypes with different treatments are likely to emerge. Today, the three main subtypes are:
HER2-positive breast cancer
HER2 is a protein that promotes cell growth and multiplication. It is found on the surface of all breast cells. A breast cancer is HER2-positive when it has much higher levels of the protein than normal.
About half of HER2-positive cancers are also hormone receptor-positive/ER positive. These patients receive treatments that target both molecular receptors. They are classified as HER2-positive since doctors believe HER2 is the primary driver of the disease.
A HER2-positive diagnosis was at one time associated with a higher risk of recurrence. Recent treatment advances, particularly with targeted therapies, have made the disease more curable in its early stages. They have also extended the survival period for patients whose cancer has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes.
Hormone receptor-positive/ER-positive breast cancer
Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer (sometimes called Luminal A) has receptors that bind with one of two naturally occurring hormones, estrogen and progesterone. These hormones fuel the growth of the cancer by binding to these receptors.
Endocrine therapies target this receptor/hormone recognition. These therapies can limit the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone or stop the receptors from recognizing the hormones.
Thanks to this therapy and the cancer’s tendency to spread relatively slowly, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer is considered the most treatable form of the three main subtypes.
Triple-negative breast cancer
Triple-negative breast cancer (sometimes called basal breast cancer) covers most breast cancers that don’t have one of the other three receptors. Besides this, triple-negative breast cancers can have very little in common.
Since there isn’t an established receptor to target in triple-negative breast cancer, this is the most difficult of the three receptor subytpes to treat. Triple-negative breast cancer also tends to be more aggressive, so the prognosis for this subtype is often worse than others. Some triple-negative breast cancers, however, do respond well to chemotherapy. In some cases, chemotherapy works so well that no cancer is found during surgery. This is called a pathological complete response.
Other types of breast cancer
Some breast cancers are grouped by special or unusual traits that are not related to the molecular receptors. These cancers may be categorized by their receptor status, but they are first classified by their special group.
Inflammatory breast cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer accounts for 2%-4% of all breast cancer diagnoses in the United States. The disease is aggressive and makes up about 10% of all breast cancer deaths in the U.S. In this disease, cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin and soft tissue. Inflammatory breast cancer is also classified by its receptor status and is more often triple-negative or HER2-positive than non-inflammatory breast cancer. Read more about inflammatory breast cancer.
Metaplastic breast cancer
Metaplastic breast cancer is rare, making up less than 1% of all breast cancers. Most patients have a distinct lump that grows quickly. The disease is aggressive and usually has a triple-negative receptor type. It is difficult to treat successfully.
Male breast cancer
While breast cancer is thought of as a disease impacting women, each year about 2,500 men in the United States are diagnosed with the disease. Like female breast cancer, most cases fall into the three receptor subtype groups (HER2-positive, hormone receptor-positive and triple-negative). Learn more about male breast cancer.
Male breast cancer related articles:
- Male breast cancer: What men should know
- What men should know about genetic breast cancer
- Male breast cancer survivor: Why I volunteer at MD Anderson
- Male breast cancer: patient and doctor discuss experience and treatment
Paget disease of the breast
Paget disease is a rare form of breast cancer, making up 1-4% of all breast cancer cases, according to the National Cancer Institute. The disease first appears on the nipple and often extends to the areola. Read more about Paget disease of the breast.
Advanced breast cancer
Advanced breast cancer (also called metastatic breast cancer and stage IV breast cancer) is not a distinct type of cancer. Instead, it is any breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body, such as the bones, brain, liver or lungs. Even though the disease may be found in other organs, it is still considered and treated like breast cancer.
Most cases of advanced breast cancer are not considered curable. Instead, they are treated like a chronic illness. The goal of care is to prolong life and maintain the patient’s quality of life. With emerging therapies and treatments, many metastatic breast cancer patients can live well for years. MD Anderson has an Advanced Breast Cancer Clinic dedicated to caring for these patients.
Breast cancer risk factors
A risk factor is anything that increases the chances of developing a specific disease. Key risk factors and causes include:
- Age: As women age, their breast cancer risk increases. Most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50. If you believe you may be more likely to develop cancer because of your personal or family medical history, please review our screening exams by age.
- Inherited genetic mutations: Specific gene mutations increase the risk of developing cancer. These include the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Normal BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes repair damaged DNA. When these genes are mutated in certain ways, they fail at DNA repair, which could lead to breast and/or ovarian cancer. Other genes mutations associated with a higher risk of cancer include PALB2, another DNA repair gene; CHEK2, a tumor suppressor; and PTEN, which controls how quickly cells multiply. Learn more about hereditary cancer syndromes.
- Family history: A woman’s odds of developing breast cancer increase if a parent, sibling or child has had the disease.
- Early menstruation: Women who began menstruating before age 12 have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Women who have no full-term pregnancies or their first pregnancy after age 30 at a higher risk of breast cancer.
- Previous breast cancer diagnosis: A woman who has had breast cancer once has a higher risk of developing a second cancer.
- Previous radiation therapy to the chest in childhood or early adulthood increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
- Obesity, particularly after menopause, increases a woman’s breast cancer risk.
- Dense breast tissue based on its appearance in a mammogram is a known risk factor for breast cancer.
Breast cancer prevention related articles:
Did you know?
Breast cancer symptoms vary from person to person and there is no exact definition of what a lump or mass feels like. The best thing to do is to be familiar with your breasts so you know how “normal” feels and looks. If you notice any changes, tell your doctor. However, many breast cancers are found by mammograms before any symptoms appear.
Breast cancer symptoms may include:
- Lump or mass in the breast
- Lump or mass in the armpit
- Skin redness
- Dimpling or puckering on the breast
- Scaliness on nipple (sometimes extending to the areola)
- Discharge from the nipple
- Nipple changes, including the nipple turning inward, pulling to one side or changing direction
- Ulcer on the breast or nipple (sometimes extending to the areola)
- Thickening of the skin, resulting in an orange-peel texture
These symptoms do not always mean you have breast cancer. However, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor, since they may also signal other health problems.
For most patients, a breast cancer diagnosis starts with an imaging exam. This can be a routine screening such a yearly mammogram or can be prompted by a suspicious lump, redness or thickening of the breast skin.
Most breast imaging is carried out with a mammogram or ultrasound. Occasionally, doctors will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or other specialized examinations.
If the imaging exam shows an unusual or suspicious mass or skin thickening, doctors will need a tissue sample in order to make a definitive diagnosis. Tissue is typically retrieved through an image-guided core needle biopsy. During this procedure, a needle is used to extract a bit of tissue from the suspicious area of the breast. In many cases, this biopsy is performed during the initial imaging exam in order to speed up the diagnosis.
If the biopsy reveals cancerous tissue, additional imaging and biopsies may be needed to determine the exact scope of the disease. This part of the diagnosis shows whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
Doctors will perform additional analysis of the cancer cells themselves to determine the disease’s receptor subtype. By understanding the subtype, they can develop a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan.
Read more about breast cancer diagnostic procedures:
- Breast exam findings: Breast exams can reveal several different features and tissue types, many of which are not cancerous.
- Stereotactic core needle breast biopsy: Doctors perform this procedure to evaluate abnormal mamogram findings.
- MRI-guided core needle breast biopsy: This biopsy procedure helps doctors position the need used to extract tissue for evaluation.
- Breast punch biopsy: Breast punch biopsies are used to determine if breast cancer affects the skin of the breast.
- Breast lymphoscintigraphy: Cancer often spreads through the lymph nodes. This procedure helps doctors identify the sentinel lymph node, the specific node that cancer is most likely to spread to first.
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy for breast cancer: Doctors often remove the sentinel lymph node during surgery. It can then be analyzed to help determine the cancer's stage.
Getting a breast biopsy? You might be wondering what it is and how it works.
A breast biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which a doctor removes a small amount of breast tissue to examine under a microscope. If the tissue sample shows cancer, the physician can have it analyzed further to provide the most accurate diagnosis — a critical first step in getting patients the best treatment possible for their particular type of breast cancer.
A biopsy may be ordered when a mammogram or other breast imaging (such as an ultrasound) reveals an abnormality or you feel a lump in your breast, or when a physician notices something suspicious (such as dimpling or a change in skin texture) during a clinical exam.
We spoke with Marion Scoggins, M.D., to learn more. Here’s what she had to say.
What are the types of breast biopsies, and how are they different?
There are two basic types of breast biopsy: surgical and needle. A breast biopsy done surgically through an incision in the skin is called a surgical breast biopsy. A breast biopsy done by inserting a needle through the skin is called a breast needle biopsy.
There are two main types of breast needle biopsy:
- fine needle aspiration, which uses a thin, hollow needle attached to a syringe, and
- core needle biopsy, which uses a larger needle that removes a small, tube-shaped piece of tissue with a spring-loaded device or a vacuum-assisted device.
Because it’s important to pinpoint areas of concern and pull tissue from those exact spots, doctors typically use an ultrasound — or a mammogram or MRI, in some cases — to guide a breast needle biopsy. A mammogram-guided biopsy is also called a stereotactic biopsy.
At MD Anderson, we place small metallic markers called “clips” in the breast at the time of a breast needle biopsy and leave them there. This allows our radiologists and surgeons to know the exact location of the biopsy, in case we need to remove something else from the area where a tissue sample was taken.
How painful is each kind of biopsy, and how long does it take to recover?
Local anesthesia is given for breast needle biopsies, which makes them tolerable and comfortable for most patients.
The recovery time is typically very short, but may vary depending on the amount of bleeding and/or bruising. A core needle biopsy is more likely to result in bruising than a breast fine needle biopsy. Bruising from a breast biopsy may take several weeks to completely resolve. Your doctor can discuss expected recovery times and what to do to take care of the area that’s been biopsied.
Do any breast biopsies require general anesthesia or an overnight stay in the hospital?
A breast needle biopsy is done with local anesthesia, so it does not require general anesthesia.
A surgical breast biopsy may require general anesthesia, but typically won’t require an overnight hospital stay.
How do doctors determine which biopsy is best for a particular patient?
If there’s an abnormal finding on your mammogram or breast ultrasound that we need to biopsy, a radiologist will determine the most appropriate type of biopsy, based on how much tissue is needed to get an accurate diagnosis and the question doctors seek to answer with the biopsy.
Is there ever a time when a patient should ask their doctor for a biopsy (or for a specific type)?
A biopsy is only recommended if there’s a suspicious finding on a mammogram, ultrasound or MRI, or a concerning clinical finding. If a scan is normal and there are no worrisome symptoms, there’s no need for a biopsy.
If you do need a biopsy, your doctor should discuss which type of biopsy is needed and why. Your doctor can answer any questions you have and explain the procedure and its purpose, as well as its benefits, risks and alternatives.
What are the potential risks of a breast needle biopsy?
As with any medical procedure, there are known risks and benefits with a breast needle biopsy. It is possible that patients may have pain, bleeding or infection. So, be aware of these potential complications and discuss them with your doctor before the procedure.
Some patients express concerns about whether a breast needle biopsy might cause cancer to spread. But there’s no evidence of a negative long-term effect from a breast needle biopsy. And the benefits of a breast needle biopsy — as opposed to a surgical biopsy or no biopsy at all — outweigh the risks.
Why should you have your biopsy done at MD Anderson?
All MD Anderson does is cancer and our doctors perform all different types of breast biopsies on a daily basis. Each year, our breast radiologists perform more than 2,000 ultrasound-guided biopsies, 750 stereotactic biopsies and 250 MRI-guided breast biopsies, on average. Our radiologists are fellowship-trained breast-imaging specialists, which means they’ve received additional sub-specialty training after completing residency. And our biopsies are interpreted by pathologists who specialize in breast cancer.
If a biopsy reveals cancer, our team of oncologists, radiologists, surgeons and pathologists work together to develop individualized treatment plans for the patient. This approach ensures that patients have access to any additional support services they might need, such as physical therapists, dietitians and social work counselors.
Anything else readers should know about breast biopsies?
Just because you need a breast biopsy doesn’t mean you have cancer. In fact, most breast biopsies turn out to be benign (not cancerous). So don’t worry if it takes several days to receive the results of your breast biopsy. This is typical, and it simply means we are doing our job and ensuring you get the most accurate results.
Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by calling 1-877-632-6789.
Breast Cancer Stages
Staging is a way of determining how much disease is in the body and where it has spread. This information is important because it helps your doctor decide the best type of treatment for you and the outlook for your recovery (prognosis).
(source: National Cancer Institute)
Stage 0 Breast Cancer (carcinoma in situ)
There are 3 types of breast carcinoma in situ:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a noninvasive condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct. The abnormal cells have not spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast. In some cases, DCIS may become invasive cancer and spread to other tissues over time. At this time, there is no way to know which lesions could become invasive.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is a condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lobules of the breast. This condition seldom becomes invasive cancer. Information about LCIS is not included in this summary.
- Paget disease of the nipple is a condition in which abnormal cells are found in the nipple only.
Stage 1 Breast Cancer
In stage 1, cancer has formed. Stage I is divided into stages 1A and 1B.
- In stage 1A, the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller. Cancer has not spread outside the breast.
- In stage 1B, small clusters of breast cancer cells (larger than 0.2 millimeter but not larger than 2 millimeters) are found in the lymph nodes and either:
- no tumor is found in the breast; or
- the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller.
Stage 2 Breast Cancer
Stage 2 is divided into stages 2A and 2B.
- In stage 2A:
- no tumor is found in the breast or the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller. Cancer (larger than 2 millimeters) is found in 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes or in the lymph nodes near the breastbone (found during a sentinel lymph node biopsy); or
- the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters. Cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
- In stage 2B, the tumor is:
- larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters. Small clusters of breast cancer cells (larger than 0.2 millimeter but not larger than 2 millimeters) are found in the lymph nodes; or
- larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters. Cancer has spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes or to the lymph nodes near the breastbone (found during a sentinel lymph node biopsy); or
- larger than 5 centimeters. Cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage 3A Breast Cancer
In stage 3A:
- no tumor is found in the breast or the tumor may be any size. Cancer is found in 4 to 9 axillary lymph nodes or in the lymph nodes near the breastbone (found during imaging tests or a physical exam); or
- the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters. Small clusters of breast cancer cells (larger than 0.2 millimeter but not larger than 2 millimeters) are found in the lymph nodes; or
- the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters. Cancer has spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes or to the lymph nodes near the breastbone (found during a sentinel lymph node biopsy).
Stage 3B Breast Cancer
In stage 3B, the tumor may be any size and cancer has spread to the chest wall and/or to the skin of the breast and caused swelling or an ulcer. Also, cancer may have spread to:
- up to 9 axillary lymph nodes; or
- the lymph nodes near the breastbone.
Cancer involving skin of the breast may also be inflammatory breast cancer.
Stage 3C Breast Cancer
In stage 3C, no tumor is found in the breast or the tumor may be any size. Cancer may have spread to the skin of the breast and caused swelling or an ulcer and/or has spread to the chest wall. Also, cancer has spread to:
- 10 or more axillary lymph nodes; or
- lymph nodes above or below the collarbone; or
- axillary lymph nodes and lymph nodes near the breastbone.
Cancer that has spread to the skin of the breast may also be inflammatory breast cancer.
Stage 4 Breast Cancer
In stage 4, cancer has spread to other organs of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver, or brain.
While stage 4 breast cancer is usually not curable, it can respond (either shrink or remain stable) for some time with different medical therapies. Sometimes radiation is used to treat specific areas.
MD Anderson’s Nellie B. Connally Breast Center provides patients with truly multidisciplinary care. That means your medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, surgical oncologist and reconstructive surgeon work together as a team to achieve the best possible outcome. They coordinate care and develop a comprehensive treatment plans that’s unique to each patient’s disease and their needs.
Breast cancer surgery
Like all surgeries, breast cancer surgery is most successful when performed by a specialist with a great deal of experience in the particular procedure. MD Anderson’s breast cancer surgeons are among the most skilled and renowned in the world. They perform a large number of surgeries for breast cancer each year, using the least-invasive and most-effective techniques. At the start of treatment, care teams asses if the patient needs reconstructive surgery. If so, our breast cancer surgeons and reconstructive surgeons work together to plan procedures that minimize incision and possible scarring. Their goal is to achieving the most effective surgery and the best possible cosmetic outcome and symmetry.
Some patients will receive chemotherapy or targeted therapy prior to surgery. The goal of these treatments is shrink the tumor and any involved lymph nodes in order to make the procedure and recovery as easy as possible on the patient. This also allows the treating team to assess how the cancer has responded to treatment, which can be important for some breast cancer subtypes.
The surgeries themselves fall into one of two categories: lumpectomies and mastectomies. Your surgeon will recommend the best option for you based on the size and location of tumors in the breast, the size of the breast itself and the need for radiation treatment.
In a typical lumpectomy surgery, the tumor and a small amount of surrounding normal tissue is removed. Lumpectomies are generally outpatient procedures and have shorter recovery times. These procedures are usually followed by radiation therapy.
In a typical mastectomy surgery, the tumor and the entire breast are removed. There are a number of different types of mastectomies, including procedures that spare the breast’s skin and nipple/areola. Often a mastectomy and breast reconstruction can be performed in the same procedure.
In some cases, both breasts are removed. This can help prevent the development of a new breast cancer. It is typically done for patients are at high risk for developing breast cancer due to family history or their own genetic profile, such as a BRCA mutation.
In both lumpectomies and mastectomies, surgeons may also remove nearby lymph nodes. These are important parts of the lymphatic system, which helps the body fight disease. Breast cancer can spread through nearby lymph nodes. Doctors will study the ones that are removed to determine if there are cancer cells within the nodes. This information can help determine the risk of the disease spreading to distant organs, as well as the need for chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Read more about breast cancer surgery:
- Lumpectomy and Mastectomy Surgery Comparison: The two primary surgeries for breast cancer are lumpectomy and mastectomy. In some cases, a patient may have a choice between the two.
- Breast Surgery Post-Operative Instructions: Recovering from breast cancer surgery is a weeks-long process that includes pain management, guidelines on post-surgical activities and more.
Radiation for breast cancer
Radiation therapy uses powerful beams of energy carefully designed to kill breast cancer cells.
At most hospitals, the radiation oncologist developing these treatments is work on several different types of cancer. At MD Anderson’s Breast Center, radiation oncologists are dedicated exclusively to caring for patients with breast cancer. This gives them incredibly deep experience to draw from when designing treatment plans. In addition, each breast cancer radiation treatment plan is reviewed by every breast radiation oncology faculty member, ensuring that patients receive the best possible treatment.
Our physicians are recognized as world leaders in their field. MD Anderson radiation oncologists have developed radiation therapy treatments shown to deliver the most effective radiation courses in the shortest amount of time and with the fewest side effects.
For breast cancer patients, radiation therapy can be used before surgery to shrink large tumors or after surgery in order to kill any remaining breast cancer cells that can’t be seen by the naked eye. It can also be used as a palliative treatment to reduce symptoms caused by cancer spreading to other parts of the body and improve the patient’s quality of life.
Radiation can be given to the breast tissue surrounding the area where the tumor was located, as well as to nearby lymph nodes and the chest wall. After a lumpectomy, patients often receive three to four weeks of daily radiation therapy. In some cases one to two weeks may be appropriate. When the lymph nodes are involved or a mastectomy was needed, patients usually need six weeks of daily radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy treatments for breast cancer patients include:
- 3D conformal radiation therapy: This technique uses radiation beams that are shaped to the tumor’s dimension.
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy: IMRT uses multiple beams of radiation with different intensities to deliver a precise, high dose of radiation to the tumor.
- Volumetric arc therapy: A type of IMRT, in VMAT therapy, the section of the machine that shoots out the beam of radiation rotates around the patient in an arc. This can irradiate the tumor more precisely and shorten procedure times.
- Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation: A form of brachytherapy, APBI uses radioactive pellets or seeds to kill cancer cells that may remain after a lumpectomy.
- Stereotactic body radiation surgery: SBRT administers very high doses of radiation, using several beams of various intensities aimed at different angles to precisely target the tumor.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery: Stereotactic radiosurgery most commonly used to treat breast cancer that has spread to the brain. Stereotactic radiosurgery uses dozens of tiny radiation beams to target tumors with a precise, high dose of radiation. Read more about stereotactic radiosurgery
Proton therapy for breast cancer
Proton therapy delivers high radiation doses directly into the tumor, sparing nearby healthy tissue and vital organs. For many patients, this results in better cancer control with fewer side effects. Read more about proton therapy for breast cancer.
Targeted therapy for breast cancer
Cancer cells rely on specific molecules (often in the form of proteins) to survive, multiply and spread. Targeted therapies stop or slow the growth of cancer by interfering with, or targeting, these molecules or the genes that produce them.
In recent years, targeted therapy has become a major weapon in the fight against breast cancer. Breast cancer subtypes that once had poor prognoses are now highly treatable.
One type of targeted therapy is endocrine therapy, which is given to patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. This can be given before surgery to shrink the tumor. It is also given after surgery for five to 10 years to prevent recurrence. Patients with the metastatic form of this disease are also given endocrine therapy in order to prevent disease progression.
Patients with HER2-positive breast cancer also receive targeted therapies. These patients may receive a different set of targeted therapy drugs both prior to and after surgery. Since about half of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer also have hormone receptor-positive tumors, they are also given endocrine therapy.
While there are no targeted therapies for triple-negative breast cancer, researchers are studying the disease to identify possible drug targets.
Breast cancer chemotherapy
Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to directly kill cancer cells, control their growth or relieve pain. It is often given to patients prior to surgery to shrink the tumor and simplify the procedure. Breast cancer patients can receive chemotherapy either orally or intravenously.
Why choose MD Anderson for your breast cancer treatment?
Choosing the right hospital may be the most important decision you can make as a breast cancer patient. At MD Anderson you’ll get treatment from one of the nation’s top-ranked cancer centers. Our expertise starts with the ability to accurately diagnose and stage even extremely rare cancers, then carries on through groundbreaking treatment and into survivorship.
At other centers and hospitals, doctors may be expected to develop treatment plans or perform surgery on patients with several different types of cancer and/or non-cancerous conditions. At MD Anderson, eliminating cancer is our core mission. The surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists with the Nellie B. Connally Breast Center are focused on curing breast cancer, extending the life of breast cancer patients and maximizing their quality of life. This allows them to develop a tremendous amount of experience and skill in treating breast cancer patients, including those with rare forms of the disease. Each doctor brings their skills to our multidisciplinary teams, where they work together to develop treatment plans that address the unique nature of each breast cancer case and patient.
As a top-ranked cancer hospital, MD Anderson is also a leader in innovating new and better ways to care for patients. Our breast cancer doctors have helped develop new treatments and therapies that have improved survival rates, decreased side effects and resulted in better cosmetic outcomes for breast cancer patients.
This care is available beyond MD Anderson’s campus in the Texas Medical Center. Through our five Houston-area locations, patients throughout the region can get the same top-ranked care and personalized attention close to home. The breast specialists at the Texas Medical Center interact easily and often with the outstanding regional MD Anderson doctors to provide input on any rare or unusual case.
Cancer is mentally and physically challenging, but don't let it shut you down. Dust yourself off and get back up, even if you have to crawl. This is your life, after all, and it's worth fighting for.
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Breast Cancer Moon Shot
MD Anderson’s Breast Cancer Moon Shot® aims to rapidly and dramatically improve the disease’s survival rates and reduce suffering through early detection, research and new treatments.Learn more about the Breast Cancer Moon Shot