Fear, anxiety, shock and disbelief are just a few. But we want to add one more to that list — hope. If you think you might have breast cancer or if you’ve already been diagnosed, you’ll get highly skilled, compassionate care from Cleveland Clinic’s nationally recognized breast cancer specialists.
Cancer is certainly a journey no one chooses, but if you’re traveling down this path, our experienced providers are all in. We offer expertise, support and understanding. We’re with you from the day you get the news to years after treatment ends.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Breast Cancer Care?
The most important person on your cancer care team is you. What you want for treatment and your future is what matters most. That’s why before any decisions are made, we’ll spend time talking with you. We’ll go over things like your plans for starting or adding to your family, what your treatment options are, what recovery will be like and if you want breast reconstruction surgery.
As a National Comprehensive Cancer Network member, we’re one of about 30 cancer centers in the country devoted to advancing patient care, research and education.
We’re a national leader in innovative therapies, including intraoperative radiation therapy, for breast cancer and preserving fertility in cancer patients. Our specialists are also researching the development of a breast cancer vaccine to bring hope to future patients, too.
Innovation and research:
We offer a wide range of clinical trials that help us better prevent, diagnose and treat breast cancer. Some of our trials focus on triple-negative breast cancer, immunotherapy, liquid biopsy, new treatments for breast cancer that comes back and preventing certain treatment side effects.
A breast cancer diagnosis affects both you and your loved ones. Our support groups offer encouragement for you, your family and friends. These groups are welcoming, safe places to ask questions and share your concerns, fears and hopes with people who’ve walked in your shoes.
Not feeling great? Rather stay curled up on the couch than drive to an appointment? Virtual visits are a convenient alternative to seeing your provider in person. You’ll get the same expert care, but from the comfort of your home using your smartphone, computer or tablet.
U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Cleveland Clinic as a top hospital in the nation. Newsweek has named us a top hospital in the world.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic
When you first see us, you may be at the very beginning of your cancer journey. Or maybe you’re partway through. You may think you have cancer and are waiting for more testing. You may have just been diagnosed. Maybe you’re facing breast cancer that has come back. If you’ve recently gotten an abnormal mammogram result and biopsy that showed breast cancer, your provider might have referred you to our team.
However you came to be with us, we’re here for you.
You’ll meet with our team of breast cancer specialists to talk about your diagnosis and treatment options. Seeing lots of providers can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ll coordinate your appointments in one day — or over several days — depending on your schedule.
If you’re just getting started, you’ll likely meet with a breast surgeon first. This provider will walk you through the first steps of your treatment plan and help coordinate your care. They’re there to guide you even if surgery isn’t a part of your plan.
Healthcare providers you may see
Throughout your journey, you'll be supported by many healthcare providers. You may see a:
- Medical oncologist (a specialist who diagnoses and treats cancer).
- Radiation oncologist (an expert who treats cancer with radiation therapy).
- Breast surgeon.
- Plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
- Medical breast specialist (someone who looks at your genetics).
Who Treat Breast Cancer
What to Expect
At your appointments, you can expect your healthcare providers to:
- Do a physical exam.
- Review imaging tests.
- Talk about your cancer diagnosis and stage (how advanced it is), and if it has spread.
- Listen to your goals and concerns.
- Go over all of your treatment options.
Our expert cancer specialists will dive in, spending time with you to help you better understand your diagnosis and what treatment options might be right for you. We also know not all breast cancers grow at the same rate. So we always try to meet with you as soon as possible.
Learning you may have breast cancer can be emotional and overwhelming. You’ll want to feel confident that you’re working with a team of healthcare providers you trust. And that you’ll get the best possible care. That’s why we encourage second opinions. Getting a second opinion can help you feel more in control of your care and give you peace of mind knowing you’re in the most capable hands.
Breast Cancer Treatment at Cleveland Clinic
How we treat your breast cancer depends on the type of cancer you have, your goals and your medical history. Your provider may recommend a combination of these treatments for the best long-term results:
There are two main types of breast cancer surgery:
If lumpectomy or mastectomy is part of your treatment plan, you may choose to have breast reconstruction right after surgery. At Cleveland Clinic, our breast surgeons and plastic surgeons operate together to give you results that help you feel good about how you look and make you feel confident about your body.
Radiation therapy uses targeted beams of energy (radiation) to zero in on cancer cells, while protecting the healthy tissue around them. You might have radiation to your breast, lymph nodes or other areas of the body if cancer has spread. We specialize in radiation techniques that spare heart and lung tissue, as well as treatment that can reduce radiation therapy from several weeks to just five days.
When you think about cancer treatment options, your mind might jump to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a medication that we give you intravenously (using an IV through a vein) to kill cancer cells in your body. It’s an effective treatment, but it may come with side effects — like hair loss. Losing your hair can feel like another bump in the road of cancer treatment. But we’ll be there to help you feel as good as possible if you do lose some or all of your hair as part of your care. At our Wig Boutique, you can treat yourself to a complimentary wig, scarf or cap while you have treatment.
We may recommend hormone therapy to treat breast cancer. Some cancer cells are hormone receptor-positive. This means certain drugs can prevent hormones in your body (like estrogen) from causing cancer cells to grow.
Recurrent breast cancer
The thought of breast cancer coming back after treatment is something no one wants to face. But if it does return, there’s hope. Your Cleveland Clinic cancer team will go back to the drawing board and work through what’s next — often trying new therapies, combinations of therapies or clinical trials when it makes sense.
Taking the Next Step
Everyone’s journey with breast cancer is different. And no matter where we meet you on yours, you can be sure that we’ll never leave your side. One day at a time. One step at a time. We’ll walk this path together. At Cleveland Clinic, you’ll find expertise, compassion and most importantly — hope.
Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic breast cancer experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.
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Learning you have cancer can be stressful, shocking and challenging. From the moment you get the news, you're a survivor. As you face the challenges that go along with cancer treatment and recovery — physical and emotional — we’ll be right there with you.
At Cleveland Clinic, survivorship care is one part of your journey. We offer a wide range of services, resources, clinics and support groups to help with any physical, emotional, financial and spiritual needs you might have related to your cancer diagnosis. Lending a helping hand along the way, we want you to not only survive, but thrive on this journey and beyond.