Our breast cancer physicians assess and treat breast cancer based on a number of factors, including:
- Type of breast cancer
- Location of the cancer
- Stage of the disease
Breast Cancer Biopsy
One of the first steps in evaluating breast cancer is a biopsy. If a woman or her physician finds a suspicious lump or a mammogram identifies an abnormal area, we will perform a biopsy to obtain a tissue sample. One of our pathologists will examine the tissue sample to determine if the abnormality is cancer.
Types of Breast Cancer Biopsies
If the physician can locate the lump easily, he or she may perform either a fine needle or core needle biopsy.
- Fine needle aspiration is a biopsy procedure that uses a fine gauge needle and a syringe to sample fluid from a breast cyst or remove clusters of cells from a solid mass.
- A core needle biopsy involves removing small samples of breast tissue using a hollow "core" needle.
If the physician cannot easily feel the lump, he or she may use ultrasound or a computerized stereotactic needle biopsy to find the exact location of the lump.
Breast Cancer Diagnostic Imaging
|Other tests used to evaluate breast cancer include:
- Chest X-rays
- Bone scans
- CT scans
Our physicians address two separate issues during the treatment of breast cancer:
- Local treatment for the breast itself, which may include surgery and/or radiation therapy
- Systemic treatment for the spread of breast cancer, which may include chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy
Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Program
Our Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Program is a joint effort with the Clinical Genetics Center of Carolinas Medical Center. Because breast cancer is so common, many families have two or more affected individuals and some share a gene for cancer susceptibility.
It is important to identify those families with inherited cancer, so that family members can receive information about early detection and prevention.
For more information on the Breast Health Center, a facility of Carolinas HealthCare system NorthEast, at Levine Cancer Institute, please call 980-442-2000 or 800-804-9376.