Breast Cancer

Advanced options, caring specialists.
Breast Cancer

"Compassion" is a word we often hear from patients. That's because every member of our staff – from technologists to radiologists to Breast Care coordinators – treats each patient with respect and consideration. We understand that going through breast cancer can be a frightening, life-altering experience. We are truly here for you every step of the way.

About Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. In the U.S., a woman's lifetime probability of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8. While the incidence of breast cancer has increased, survival of the disease is at an all-time high. Breast cancer detected early can usually be treated successfully.

A woman's breast is made up of:

  • Glands called lobules (that produce milk)
  • Ducts (that carry the milk from the lobules to the nipple)
  • Fat cells
  • Connective tissue
  • Blood vessels
  • Lymph system

Types of breast cancer

Breast cancer is a tumor (carcinoma or malignancy) that develops from cells in the breast. There are more than 15 types of breast cancer. The two main types of breast cancer are ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma.

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ: cancer that begins in the duct of the breast and is contained inside the wall of the duct.
  • Infiltrating (invasive) ductal carcinoma: cancer that breaks through the ductal wall and spreads to the fatty tissue of the breast. About 80% of invasive breast cancer is this type.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ: an overgrowth of cells that stay inside the lobule. It is not a true cancer, but a warning sign of increased risk for developing invasive cancer in the future.
  • Infiltrating (invasive) lobular carcinoma: cancer that breaks through the lobules and spreads to nearby tissue. About 10% of invasive breast cancer is of this type.

Symptoms

Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain. Often, there are no symptoms at all. But as cancer grows, it can cause:

  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Nipple discharge, tenderness or inversion
  • Ridges or pitting of breast (skin looks like the skin of an orange)
  • Redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
 

Inflammatory breast cancer

The least common type of breast cancer is inflammatory breast cancer. It is breast cancer that does not appear like breast cancer. The symptoms can be very different from common breast cancer symptoms, including:

  • Rapid increase in breast size
  • Redness
  • Skin hot to touch
  • Persistent itching
  • Thickening of breast tissue
 

Risk factors

The majority of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer do not have any risk factors. However, there are factors that may raise the risk of breast cancer, including:

  • Family history of breast cancer (especially in a first degree relative, like mother or sister)
  • Benign breast disease
  • Early onset of menstruation
  • Late onset of menopause
  • First child born after age 30
  • No full-term pregnancies
  • Long-term use of postmenopausal hormones

Prevention

Some ways that have been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer include:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Limited alcohol intake
  • Regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Increasing vegetable intake

Make a mammogram appointment today

Many women begin having mammograms at age 40, but every patient, their risk factors and health history are unique. HealthEast suggests talking with your provider about what age is best to start mammograms and your ongoing screening schedule.

We understand you’re busy — so we even offer evening and weekend appointments for your convenience.

Call to schedule your mammogram today: 651-232-5500
Scheduling office hours: 7 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday

Mammography locations

We offer routine screening mammograms at all of our radiology and imaging locations. Diagnostic mammography is available at St. John's, St. Joseph's and Woodwinds hospitals.

Maplewood Imaging
1723A Beam Avenue
Maplewood, MN 55109
Midway Clinic
1390 University Avenue W.
St. Paul, MN 55104
Rice Street Clinic
980 Rice Street
St. Paul, MN 55117
Roselawn Clinic
1983 Sloan Place
Suite 1
St. Paul, MN 55117
St. John's Hospital
1575 Beam Avenue
Maplewood, MN 55109
St. Joseph's Hospital
45 West 10th Street
St. Paul, MN 55102
Woodwinds Health Campus
1925 Woodwinds Drive
Woodbury, MN 55125