Breast Cancer

As a dedicated team of breast cancer experts, we focus on compassionate, patient-centered, leading-edge care to save the lives of women.

A breast cancer diagnosis is life-altering. The Breast Cancer Program at City of Hope offers a unique approach for women diagnosed with breast cancer. Our expert team of doctors and researchers are turning innovative laboratory breakthroughs into promising new therapies that can impact our patients today, and we focus on the patient as a whole, treating both the physical and emotional changes that a breast cancer diagnosis can bring, while also addressing the needs of partners and families.
Our multidisciplinary team of dedicated surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, nurses, genetic counselors, and social workers provides compassionate, individualized care combined with access to state-of-the-art technologies and treatments.

We tailor treatment according to the individual patient’s cancer characteristics.
  • We recognize that breast cancer is different for every patient, and that each woman needs her own personalized treatment plan. We tailor our treatments to the patient according to patient age, genetics, psychosocial, and spiritual needs.
  • Doctors in our Cancer Genetics Program provide comprehensive consultations in cancer screening and prevention by assessing the cancer risk for individuals and families and providing recommendations to prevent as well as detect breast cancer at its earliest and most curable stage.
  • We use state of-the-art imaging modalities for accurate and rapid diagnosis as well as surgical planning, which facilitates minimally invasive techniques for the optimal staging and treatment of breast cancers.
  • We offer the latest modalities of breast preservation, skin-sparing surgeries, minimally invasive robotic surgery, oncoplastic surgery, and reconstructive surgery to provide optimal cancer surgery while achieving excellent cosmetic outcome.
  • We are constantly evaluating new drugs designed to treat pre-malignant conditions, as well as novel compounds that target advanced metastatic disease. We also study super-foods that help prevent cancer for women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer.
  • We assess the needs of cancer patients and family members using biopsychosocial screening that addresses the biological, psychological (thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), and social factors that all play a significant role in the lives of women battling cancer.
  • All breast cancer patients and their families can participate in the Partners Clinic, a novel program unique to City of Hope that offers patients and their families an opportunity to grow closer as they solve problems together.
  • All breast cancer patients can participate in the Survivorship Program: Our care does not end after completion of treatment. Our doctors and researchers are working to develop resources to help improve the quality of life for survivors, and all patients are able to participate in ongoing long-term research related to their life after cancer.

Combining the power of collaboration with a dedication to compassion, we seek to save the lives of women.
About Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can be classified in two broad categories: noninvasive and invasive.
  • Non-invasive or in situ breast cancers stay within the breast and do not spread into surrounding tissues.
  • Invasive or infiltrating breast cancers spread outside the breast into other parts of the body through  blood and lymph nodes.

Breast cancer is also classified based on where in the breast the disease started and how the disease grows.

Invasive ductal carcinoma
This is the most common type of breast cancer, beginning in the lining of the milk ducts (thin tubes that carry milk from the lobules of the breast to the nipple).

Invasive lobular carcinoma
This cancer begins in the lobules (milk glands) of the breast. It is found in both breasts more often than other types of breast cancer.

Inflammatory breast cancer
In this uncommon type, the breast is red and swollen and may have thickening of the skin that resembles an orange peel.

Recurrent breast cancer
This is disease that returns after it has been treated. It may come back in the breast, in the chest wall or in other parts of the body.

Metastatic breast cancer
This is a breast cancer that has spread to sites and organs outside the breast and regional lymph nodes. One in 20 women are found to have metastatic cancer when they are first diagnosed with breast cancer. In others, spread is discovered after a previous diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Approximately one in eight women living in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. More than 232,000 U.S. women and 2,200 men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, according to the National Cancer Institute. Age is the strongest risk factor for breast cancer, but others are significant as well.
  • Age: Your risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older, and half of all breast cancers are diagnosed in women older than 60.
  • Gender: A woman is 200 times more likely than a man to develop breast cancer.
  • Reproductive and menstrual history: Women who have never had a full-term pregnancy or who had their first after age 30 are at higher risk. Women who started menstruating before age 12 or who went through menopause after 55 are also at increased risk.
  • Obesity: Being overweight increases your risk of breast cancer, and obese women who are treated for breast cancer are cured less often than non-obese women.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol use is associated with a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Inactivity: Women with a long-term history of physical inactivity are at increased risk.
  • Family history: Having a close blood relative such as a mother or sister who has had breast or ovarian cancer can increase your risk.
  • Personal history: Women who have had breast cancer have a slightly greater chance of developing another breast cancer.
  • Inherited factors: In some families, genetic mutations may make some women more susceptible to developing breast cancer. The most comment inherited causes are mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Previous treatments
  • Radiation therapy: Women who have had radiation to the chest area, particularly before age 30, may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Hormone therapy: Menopause hormone therapy combining estrogen and progesterone for more than five years is associated with an increased risk.