Women don’t have to define themselves by a diagnosis or a body part. You’re a whole person — unique, individually beautiful and important. And because we know that breast health is a key aspect of a woman’s overall health, Edward-Elmhurst Health offers leading-edge breast technology and care. Whether you are striving to maintain your breast health or regain it after a cancer diagnosis, our multidisciplinary cancer team puts you first.
Early diagnosis is key to treating breast cancer, which is why Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a variety of breast imaging services designed to detect cancer and provide a clear picture of your specific needs. Edward-Elmhurst Health's breast imaging services are accredited by the American College of Radiology.
3D mammography is the latest technology that helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue.
A breast ultrasound may be used to obtain views of suspicious breast tissue.
MRI uses a powerful magnet linked to a computer that produces detailed, cross-sectional pictures of tissue inside the breast. MRI is useful for women whose dense breast tissue makes it more difficult to detect abnormalities with a mammogram.
By looking at your mammogram or the measure of breast density, your physician may conclude that you have dense breasts and may suggest other types of breast imaging, which helps in earlier detection of breast cancer.
For women with dense breasts, automated whole-breast ultrasound (AWBUS) is a supplementary ultrasound examination of both breasts that can find small cancers that mammography may miss.
Breast cancer risk assessment program
Are you concerned about your risk of breast cancer? Learning more about your risk can be the first step in preventing the disease or catching it at its earliest, most treatable stage.
Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Program for people with certain risk factors. The program’s team will work with you to first identify your risk, and then develop a plan of action to reduce it.
How can I determine if I am at high risk?
To help you assess your risk of developing breast cancer, answer these five questions:
- Do you have a family or personal history of:
- Breast cancer before age 50?
- Breast cancer in two or more close relatives?*
- Breast cancer in a male relative?
- Breast cancer in both breasts or twice in the same breast?
- Ovarian cancer at any age?
- Do you have a family member who has a known mutation in BRCA1, BRCA2 or another breast cancer susceptibility gene?
- Do you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation?
- Do you have a history of biopsy-proven atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH), or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)?
- Have you had chest wall radiation (for example, in treatment for Hodgkin’s disease) between ages 10 and 30?
*Definition of close relatives: mother, father, sister, daughter, brother, son, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, granddaughter, grandson, niece, nephew, half-brother or half-sister.
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Talk to your doctor, or call our Breast Centers and a nurse navigator will answer your questions or schedule an appointment for you to meet with our Breast Center care team. For Edward Hospital, call 630-527-5365. For Elmhurst Hospital, call 331-221-2160.
High risk clinic
If it is determined that you are at high risk for breast cancer, our High Risk Clinics can provide you with a personalized risk reduction plan, which may include the following:
- More frequent mammograms and/or additional imaging modalities, such as breast MRI
- Genetic testing
- Medical therapies for risk reduction, such as Tamoxifen
- Surgical intervention for those at highest risk
Your physician or nurse navigator will help coordinate the services you need at our High Risk Clinic.
A breast biopsy is a procedure performed by a radiologist or surgeon to sample abnormal breast tissue for laboratory analysis. Breast biopsies allow physicians to evaluate abnormalities seen on the ultrasound, mammography and MRI. Biopsy is the only way to determine if an abnormality is benign or cancerous. Having a breast biopsy does not mean that you have breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, four out of every five biopsies performed are not cancerous.
Breast biopsy results clinic
We offer a Breast Biopsy Results Clinic for patients undergoing an image-guided breast biopsy. At the time of the biopsy, the patient is given a follow up appointment with the Results Clinic where, if they results are positive, they will return for a meeting with the radiologist and the breast nurse navigator within 48-72 hours of their biopsy to receive more detailed information and learn next steps.
We perform more than 500 biopsies each year. Specially trained pathologists carefully analyze breast tissue specimens, usually making a diagnosis within 24 hours of your procedure.
Several different kinds of biopsies exist, and the type your physician recommends depends on the size, location and the abnormality detected. Learn more about our biopsy procedures.
Breast cancer care team
Our physicians are board-certified specialists in hematology, oncology, breast cancer surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and benign breast surgery. Meet our cancer care experts.
Breast cancer nurse navigators
Nurse navigators are patient educators and care guides whose mission is to improve the cancer treatment experience for Edward-Elmhurst Health patients. Nurse Navigators assist patients and their families immediately following diagnosis all the way through treatment. Your nurse navigator can help you better understand your diagnosis and treatment options and help coordinate care between your physician, surgeon and other support services.
Contact a nurse navigator today. For Edward Hospital, call 630-527-5365. For Elmhurst Hospital, call 331-221-6036.
There are several types of surgical procedures used to treat breast cancer. Your surgeon will discuss these options with you and develop an individualized plan of care, taking into consideration your unique needs and desired cosmetic results.
- Lumpectomy: A surgeon removes the tumor and a small margin of surrounding tissue.
- Mastectomy: A surgeon removes one or both breasts. The type of mastectomy is defined by the amount of tissue removed.
- Total (or simple) mastectomy, where the breast tissue, nipple and areola are removed.
- Skin-sparing mastectomy, used during a total (or simple) mastectomy. Skin is saved to accommodate tissue-expander breast reconstruction.
- Nipple-sparing mastectomy, where the surgeon removes the breast tissue but spares the nipple and areola. This surgery is performed in conjunction with breast reconstruction. Not all women are candidates for this type of mastectomy.
Lymph node considerations
Your surgeon will also discuss the evaluation of your lymph nodes during your breast surgery. Lymph nodes are often removed during breast surgery to determine if cancer cells are present.
You may have one of the following:
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy: A radioactive substance and a blue dye are injected into the breast tissue. The radioactive substance and dye are carried to the lymph nodes by your lymph fluid and allow your surgeon to identify your sentinel lymph nodes or those closest to your tumor. The surgeon removes these lymph nodes, and a pathologist tests them to determine if cancer cells are present.
- Axillary lymph node dissection: If cancer cells are found in multiple lymph nodes during a sentinel lymph node biopsy, it may be necessary to remove additional lymph nodes. A dissection is the removal of all of the lymph nodes under the arm.
Lymphedema occurs when lymphatic fluid accumulates in tissue and causes painful swelling, most often in the arms or legs. Lymphedema often occurs in breast cancer patients who had all or part of their breast and underarm lymph nodes removed.
The rehabilitation team at Edward-Elmhurst Health includes therapists who specialize in lymphedema management to help prevent, diagnose and manage the condition.
As part of your surgical plan, your surgeon may discuss your options for breast reconstruction. Reconstructive surgery can play an important role in restoring your body image and emotional well-being after a breast cancer diagnosis. If you would like to pursue breast reconstruction, your surgeon will refer you to one of our plastic surgeons to discuss your options.
Learn more about our reconstructive surgery options