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Breast cancer

Breast cancer is most common in women, but can also affect men. Often, it's detected after finding a lump in the breast or a noticeable change in the size, shape or skin of the breast. Mammograms are crucial for diagnosis, early detection and more effective treatments.

Breast cancer centers in Metro Denver

During this uncertain time, our breast cancer specialists are dedicated to supporting you and your family.

HealthONE's breast cancer programs offer comprehensive services with a compassionate approach. We treat your cancer and care for your emotional well-being. Starting with diagnosis and treatment, our relationship with you continues through rehabilitation and survivorship.

Have cancer questions?

We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated, confidential helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7.

We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated, confidential helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7.

Our breast cancer programs

Our goal is to use preventive care to detect breast cancer early. If it is detected, our hospitals are part of a global cancer network, giving you access to leading-edge treatments and compassionate care.

Comprehensive breast cancer services

We partner with Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute to provide individualized, innovative breast care and breast cancer services. Our care teams work individually with you to schedule consultations with specialists — such as general surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists. They will discuss diagnoses and collaborate to develop your individualized plan of care.

Breast tumor conference

Our breast tumor board meets weekly to discuss your treatment plan. This is central to your care and engages all disciplines to talk about treatment as a whole.

Clinical trials

Our doctors remain on the forefront of breast cancer research, clinical trials and therapeutic and registry trials.

You can search for breast cancer trials on the Sarah Cannon website.

Complementary services and therapies

You benefit from a variety of additional services, including oncology rehabilitation, nutrition support, cancer exercise, acupuncture and assistance with cosmetic changes when dealing with hair loss.

Genetic counseling

To help you manage your breast health and detect cancer early, we meet with you for genetic testing and counseling and to discuss risk reduction strategies.

Nurse navigation

Specialized services in nurse navigation are at the heart of our breast cancer program. Our nurse navigators act as advocates, educators, support systems and connectors between you and your providers throughout the care journey.

Oncofertility

We have oncofertility experts who help you discuss your fertility options when facing cancer-related and genetic risk-related infertility. We will develop an individualized plan of care that is based on type and extent of cancer.

Patient education

We educate you through many channels, including consults with our surgeons, meetings with a nurse navigator and detailed patient guidebooks.

Support services

There are many facets to the cancer journey, which is why we help patients by providing access to financial counseling, advanced care planning, social workers and support groups.


Breast cancer screening

Early detection of breast cancer allows for the best possible outcomes. This is why our hospitals offer breast cancer screenings and a variety of breast imaging services, including mammography and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The breast cancer specialists of Sarah Cannon recommend an annual screening mammogram for women 40 to 74 years old. Your breast cancer screening strategy should be discussed with your physician, as women at high risk of developing breast cancer may need to begin screening earlier.

Breast cancer risk factors

The following factors indicate a higher risk for developing breast cancer:

  • Dense breasts
  • First-degree relative with breast cancer
  • Gene mutations, including ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, CDH1, CHEK2, NBN, NF1, PALB2, PTEN, STK11, TP53
  • Menopause at 55 years old or older
  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • Previous diagnosis of atypical ductal hyperplasia, atypical lobular hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in the breast tissue
  • Radiation therapy to the chest at a young age
  • Starting menstruation at 12 years old or younger

Diagnosing breast cancer

If a breast imaging exam shows a mass that cannot be designated as noncancerous, our doctors perform a breast biopsy. Breast biopsies are necessary because they help determine if a breast mass is noncancerous (benign) or malignant (cancerous). They also allow us to accurately diagnose and stage breast cancer.

We provide two types of nonsurgical biopsies: stereotactic breast biopsies and ultrasound-guided breast biopsies.

Second opinion services

We understand the importance of an accurate breast cancer diagnosis. For this reason, our breast program provides compassionate, thoughtful second opinion services. We work with you to help you understand all testing, results and treatment options.


Treatment options for breast cancer

What methods we use for your treatment will depend on your overall health, the cancer's stage and the type of breast cancer. You will most likely receive a combination of various treatments.

In addition to medical therapies, you'll have access to additional services, including targeted therapy, scalp cooling for hair loss prevention and precise cancer staging with analysis of lymph node involvement. The type of treatment that is right for you will depend on your specific diagnosis.

Accelerated partial breast irradiation

This is external or internal beam radiation targeting only the small area where a tumor has been surgically removed. This form of radiation is typically completed with five consecutive daily treatments.

Biological therapy/immunotherapy

These therapies use man-made proteins that alter the growth and replication of a cancer cell by interfering with its specific biological pathways. This stops cancer from growing and spreading.

Breast brachytherapy

This form of radiation treats breast cancer from within the breast where a tumor has been surgically removed.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a type of treatment that uses a drug or combination of drugs to treat cancer. The goal of chemotherapy is to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. These medications may be used in conjunction with other therapies to treat breast cancer.

Deep inspiration breath hold

This is a specific breathing technique used during radiation treatment. When a breath is taken in and held, it pulls the heart farther away from the chest. This is beneficial for patients with left-sided breast cancer and reduces potential damage to the heart caused by radiation exposure.

Hormonal therapy

The hormones estrogen and progesterone can stimulate the growth of some breast cancers—which are called hormone-sensitive or hormone-dependent breast cancers. Hormone therapy is used to stop or slow the growth of these tumors.

Hypofractionated radiation therapy

This radiation treatment uses higher doses over fewer sessions. It still destroys cancer cells and, for some people, may be used as a follow-up treatment.

Intraoperative radiation therapy

This treatment allows for the delivery of a concentrated, single dose of radiation delivered directly to the tumor site during breast cancer surgery. Typically, no further radiation therapy will be needed following intraoperative radiation therapy.

Partial breast radiation therapy

This therapy uses external beam radiation targeting only the small area of the breast where a tumor has been surgically removed. Partial breast radiation therapies significantly reduce the amount of time needed to complete the treatment. They also help limit and prevent radiation exposure to healthy tissue and organs close to the breasts, including the lungs, heart, ribs, muscles and skin.

Prone breast radiation therapy

This form of radiation is performed while the patient lies face down on a specialized table fitted with a breast board to enhance comfort. Aside from the different positions, radiation then continues as normal.

Radiation treatment

We offer advanced, specialized radiation treatment options for breast cancer. Your radiation oncologist will help determine which radiation therapy technique will be effective for your type of breast cancer.

Surgical treatment options for breast cancer

If you have breast cancer, you may need some form of surgery based upon your cancer type and medical history. We provide surgical treatment options to remove as much breast cancer as possible, see if your cancer has spread, relieve symptoms of advanced cancer and restore breast shape after the cancer has been removed. We will help you understand all of your options so you and your surgeon can make the right choice for you.

Surgeries we offer to treat breast cancer include:

  • Lumpectomy
  • Lymph node removal
  • Mastectomy
    • Double mastectomy
    • Modified radical mastectomy
    • Skin-sparing mastectomy
    • Simple mastectomy
    • Total mastectomy

Whole breast radiation therapy

This technique involves external beam radiation therapy that uses radiation from high-energy X-ray beams to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. This treatment covers the entire breast, as well as the chest wall and lymph node areas, as needed. Whole breast radiation therapy is typically completed during a period of six to seven weeks.


Breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery

Breast reconstruction surgery helps restore the shape of your breasts following a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Reconstruction may take place immediately following your surgery or years later. Not all women opt for reconstruction. Talk to your surgeon about reconstructive surgery before your mastectomy or lumpectomy to determine the treatment plan that is right for you.

Our surgeons perform many variations of breast reconstruction surgery, including:

  • Breast implant removal
  • Implant-based reconstruction
  • Reduction lumpectomy free-flap reconstruction
  • Transverse rectus abdominis (TRAM) flap reconstruction
  • Latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction

For some patients, breast reconstruction surgery may occur at the same time as breast cancer surgery. This will depend on individual risk factors and diagnoses.


Breast cancer rehabilitation

We offer rehabilitation services for women who a recovering from breast cancer. Rehabilitation focuses on specialized treatment protocols for patients after breast surgery, as well as during and following chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It also helps reduce symptoms that women may experience due to treatment.


Multidisciplinary breast cancer experts

We offer you access to a group of multidisciplinary, expert physicians. This specialized team reviews each patient’s case to collaborate and develop a comprehensive care plan specific to each patient.

Members of our multidisciplinary breast care team include:

  • Breast cancer nurse navigators
  • Breast ultrasound technicians
  • Digital mammography technicians
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiologists
  • Surgical oncologists

Multidisciplinary breast clinics

Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HealthONE understands receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. When you first are diagnosed with breast cancer, you usually have to make many appointments — with oncologists, surgeons and for imaging scans — all while getting used to the idea that you have cancer. 

That’s why we have designed multidisciplinary clinics for our breast cancer patients. We arranged it so you only have to make one visit and all your appointments can be done on that day. From one comfortable location, you will visit with the medical oncologist, breast surgeon and radiation oncologist and begin to create your personalized care plan. You will also meet a nurse navigator who will be your go-to guide for resources, scheduling, communication with doctors and support. Then, while you are still at the clinic, the doctors get together and work out a plan for you.

By doing it this way, everything can be organized for you and you can rest in the fact that your treatment is in the hands of the region’s best experts who are supported by a global cancer network.

These multidisciplinary breast cancer clinics are available at Swedish Medical Center, Centennial Hospital, The Medical Center of Aurora and Sky Ridge Medical Center; North Suburban Medical Center also offers a version of this program.

Call askSARAH at (303) 325-3225 to talk about connecting with a team of cancer doctors at a location near you.


About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

As part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally trusted care with the support of a globally recognized network.

askSARAH helpline

Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7, and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (303) 253-3225.

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