Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer in Los AngelesChances are that you know someone who has battled breast cancer during her lifetime. However, you may not have taken the time to ask, “What is breast cancer?”

Understanding the anatomy surrounding this condition can help you take steps to protect the health of your breasts. If you have further questions about breast cancer, or if you have been recently diagnosed, please don’t hesitate to contact the Breast Surgery Center of Excellence to learn about your options.

Breast Cancer: Detection Through Reconstruction

Our team of breast surgeons help hundreds of breast cancer patients each year. Understanding that no two women experience breast cancer in the same way, our doctors strive to help women navigate the breast cancer journey from detection to reconstruction.

The path to restoring health includes the following steps:

  • Detection – Breast cancer can be detected through self-examination, a clinical breast exam (performed by a physician) or a breast cancer screening method such as a mammogram or MRI.
  • Diagnosis – If a lump is detected, a general surgeon will most likely perform a biopsy to determine if cancer is present. It’s important to remember that most lumps are NOT cancerous. However, scheduling an evaluation at the Breast Surgery Center is the best way to protect your long-term health and achieve peace of mind.In the event that cancer is found, he or she may order an MRI to find out if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Based on the findings, your doctor will suggest a treatment plan, which may include chemotherapy, radiation, a lumpectomy or mastectomy.
  • Surgery – Doctors may advise women with stage-1 or stage-2 breast cancer, large or multifocal breast cancers or a family history of breast cancer to undergo a mastectomy, or procedure to remove one or both breasts.
  • Reconstruction – At the Breast Surgery Center of Excellence, we respect that women experience a variety of emotions at the prospect of losing their breasts. Further, some patients are eager to undergo reconstruction as quickly as possible. With that knowledge in mind, our breast surgeons offer a cutting-edge procedure known as One-Stage Breast Reconstruction, in which silicone implants are placed at the same time the mastectomy is performed. Women wake up from the procedure with beautiful new breasts.

Anatomy of Breast Cancer

A woman’s breast is comprised of milk-producing glands called lobules; ducts that carry milk; and stroma, which is made up of fat, blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. Typically, breast cancer begins with lumps in either the ducts or lobules and can, over time, spread to surrounding tissue or other parts of the body.

Not every breast lump turns out to be cancerous. After performing a biopsy, your doctor will be able to tell you if the lump is benign or malignant (cancerous).

The following are types of lumps found in the breast:

  • Cysts – Fluid-filled lumps, cysts often cause pain and swelling around the time of a woman’s menstrual cycle. They are non-cancerous.
  • Fibroadenomas and intraductal papillomas – These benign growths do not spread beyond the breast and are non-cancerous.
  • Adenocarcinoma – Malignant growths, adenocarcinomas begin in the breast’s tissue.
  • Invasive (infiltrating) carcinoma – Growths that have spread beyond the initial layer of cells (but not outside the breast) are known as invasive carcinomas. Without treatment, these cancers may metastasize to other body parts. Most breast cancer cases are of this type.
  • Sarcoma – While rare, these breast tumors begin in the connective tissues like the muscle or blood vessels.

After performing a biopsy of a malignant tumor, your surgeon may order an MRI to determine whether or not the breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, or immune cell clumps. Generally, lymph node-negative cancer cases (meaning that the breast cancer is not detected in the lymph nodes) have the best prognosis, however breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes is still curable.

Depending on the results of the MRI, your doctor will determine the best course of treatment, which may include chemotherapy, radiation, a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are all breast lumps cancerous?

A: No! Just because you or your doctor found a lump in your breast does NOT mean you have breast cancer. In fact, many lumps are benign cysts or fibroadenomas.

Q: What are the different stages of breast cancer?

A: Breast cancer is divided into Stages 0, I, II, III and IV. Read about the characteristics of each stage.

Q: Which patients should consider mastectomy as a means of treating their breast cancer?

A: Generally, doctors recommend mastectomies for Stage I, II, or III patients with large tumors, multifocal tumors and those with a family history of breast cancer. Women with a high risk factor for cancer and those who test positive for the breast cancer gene may also opt to undergo preventative mastectomies.

Q: When can I undergo breast reconstruction after a mastectomy?

A: You may be able to undergo breast reconstruction at the same time as a mastectomy. Learn more about One-Stage Reconstruction.

Q: Who is a good candidate for mastectomy?

A: For many women, doctors recommend surgery to remove the breasts and reduce the likelihood of cancer recurring. A mastectomy may be a good option for women with large or multifocal breast cancers or a family history of the disease. Talk to your doctor to discuss the best treatment options for your particular pathology and circumstances.

Q: Am I a good candidate for One-Stage Reconstruction?

A: A number of factors including your breast size, age and the stage and location of your cancer may affect your options for reconstruction. However, one-stage reconstruction is a great option for many women. Schedule a consultation at the Breast Center to find out if you’re a candidate for one-stage breast reconstruction.

Q: What are the advantages of having one-stage reconstruction?

A: The benefits of one-stage breast reconstruction include lower costs and a reduced risk of complications, since you’re having just one surgery. Further, you can avoid months of painful tissue expansion. Women who choose one-stage reconstruction wake up from a mastectomy with beautiful new breasts.

Contact the Breast Surgery Center of Excellence

If you or someone you love has received a breast cancer diagnosis, then you know how overwhelming the experience can be. Most likely, you will have questions about treatment plans as well as options for restoring the appearance of the breasts after surgery. At La Peer Health Systems’ Breast Surgery Center of Excellence in Los Angeles, we are unique in that, while curing cancer is our #1 priority, we strive to do so cosmetically. Further, we support women during every step of the breast cancer journey. Feel free contact us online or call (888) 316-4167 to schedule a consultation with our experienced team.

No two women experience breast cancer in exactly the same way. However, having an idea of what to expect on the breast cancer journey can help you make important decisions about breast health and reconstruction. At the Breast Surgery Center of Excellence, our doctors provide state-of-the-art treatments in a safe and controlled outpatient environment. For more information about the breast cancer journey or undergoing one-stage reconstruction, don’t hesitate to make an appointment.

Our breast surgeon team strives to promote health and self-esteem for breast cancer patients. To that end, she offers a number of effective breast reconstruction procedures including One-Stage Reconstruction. If you have been newly diagnosed with cancer and want to know more about your options, don’t hesitate to call us at (888) 316-4167 or fill out our website contact form.

Next, read about the symptoms of breast cancer.

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