Breast Cancer

Breast cancer

The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on September 30, 2021.

Breast cancer requires expert care.

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women, affecting one in eight women who live to the age of 80. The disease forms when breast cells mutate (change) and multiply uncontrollably, forming a tumor. If untreated, cancerous cells may spread to other parts of the body. Women who have a family history of the disease, who are obese or who have dense breasts have a higher risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer symptoms include a lump, skin changes, nipple discharge and pain.

Our doctors treat every stage of breast cancer.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our experts have the training and expertise to quickly diagnose breast cancer and tailor a treatment plan to each patient’s unique needs. Our oncologists have experience with early-stage and complex breast cancers, including triple-negative and inflammatory. CTCA® patients have access to tools such as advanced genomic testing and a wide range of breast cancer treatments, including breast-conserving surgery, immunotherapy and clinical trials. Breast cancer is such an important focus at CTCA that each of our hospitals has a Breast Cancer Center dedicated to treating patients with all stages of this complex disease.

Concerned about your breast cancer risk? Take our five-minute risk assessment, and get an action plan based on your answers.

What you should know after a breast cancer diagnosis

Treatment options

female oncologist in white coat going over breast cancer treatment with female patient

CTCA breast cancer experts target tumors with an array of treatments and technologies. Our nationally accredited Breast Cancer Centers are staffed with multidisciplinary teams of doctors and clinicians with expertise in treating the wide variety of breast cancer types and stages of breast cancer. Treatment plans are customized for each patient’s unique needs.

Common treatments for breast cancer include:

For most patients, surgery is part of the treatment process. Our breast surgeons and surgical oncology teams have significant experience in performing surgical procedures for the many types of breast cancer, including inflammatory and invasive diseases. We have the expertise and capabilities to treat advanced breast tumors that involve the chest wall, and we also perform palliative surgeries to eliminate pain and increase patients' comfort level.

This treatment is typically recommended for patients with locally advanced or metastatic cancer.

Hormone therapy
Cancers that test positive for certain hormones may be treated with hormone-blocking therapy to slow or stop the cancer cells from growing or metastasizing.

Radiation therapy
When a breast tumor is large or not easily removed with surgery, radiation therapy before surgery may be used to help shrink the tumor. After breast-sparing surgery, radiation treatments may help destroy remaining cancer cells.

Targeted therapy
These medications are designed to shut down the HER2 gene, cutting off the cancer cells’ energy supply.

Learn more about treatments for breast cancer

Supportive care

To help our patients stay strong and maintain quality of life throughout treatment, our patients have access to a team of breast cancer experts to help with managing the side effects of treatment. Some supportive care services for breast cancer patients may include:


​Pain management

Pain management is a branch of medicine focused on reducing pain and improving quality of life through an integrative approach to care.


​Nutritional support

Every patient has the option of meeting with a registered dietitian.


Behavioral health

​Our behavioral health support program is designed to support you and your caregivers before, during and after cancer treatment.

Miriam Trejo

Miriam T.

Breast Cancer

"My experience was consistently empowering. I was part of the decision-making process at every step of the way. My care team was exactly that—a team of caring people—and I made lifelong friends with patients and employees. My naturopathic provider and my dietitian helped me manage and prevent side effects, taught me how to shop for and cook healthier foods, and recommended supplements to take during and after treatment to help my recovery."


More About MIRIAM