Breast cancer treatment

What if you could get expert, comprehensive breast cancer treatment close to home? Edward-Elmhurst Health brings expertise and innovation to your neighborhood. Our difference starts before you even begin treatment.

We understand you are a unique individual, dealing with a unique breast cancer diagnosis. Our team of breast cancer experts from multiple disciplines come together once a week in a Multidisciplinary Tumor Board to review every new patient. We share information and outline the most appropriate treatment approach for you.

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or call 630-527-3200.
Same-day appointments available.

We then work closely with you to listen to your concerns and clearly explain your options. We’ll customize your breast cancer treatment directly to your individual needs so you get the right type — and the right amount — of treatment to eradicate breast cancer.

We offer the full range of breast cancer treatments options, and we actively participate in clinical trials to stay on top of the latest approaches.

By the time you start treatment, you will have been assessed by a whole comprehensive team of experts. Where else can you find this level of personalized attention?

Breast cancer chemotherapy

In the past, breast cancer patients would automatically be put on a chemotherapy regimen. Many women received treatment that was more aggressive than they needed, which caused a whole host of unpleasant and unnecessary side effects. Today we have found that many women often don’t need as aggressive treatments as they used to get.

Our breast cancer experts use genomic testing to customize chemotherapy to your individual needs. By testing a small amount of tissue, we can examine the tumor at a molecular level and determine how likely you will benefit from chemotherapy — before you get it. We can also determine your risk of breast cancer recurrence so we can stay on top of your long-term health.

Breast cancer targeted therapy

Targeted therapies are designed to block the growth and spread of cancer. Since targeted medications are directed to attack breast cancer cells specifically, it results in less side effects.

With genomic testing, we can now tailor your treatment specifically to your needs. We collect a tissue sample during a biopsy, and then test the tissue for certain markers to see if you would benefit from targeted therapy. We may combine targeted drug therapy with chemotherapy and other breast cancer treatments.

Breast cancer hormonal therapy

Some breast cancer patients received hormone therapy at some point in their treatment journey. A common hormone therapy used to prevent breast cancer recurrence is Tamoxifen. This drug is also used for post-menopausal women at high risk for developing breast cancer.

Breast cancer neoadjuvant treatment

Some breast cancer patients receive treatment to shrink the tumor before the main treatment is given, called neoadjuvant treatment.

For instance, a woman with a large tumor may receive chemotherapy and targeted therapy to shrink the tumor before she has breast cancer surgery. The patient would then undergo a more simple procedure rather than a long and complex surgery.

Breast surgery

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.

Our surgical oncology team in Naperville and Elmhurst includes experienced breast surgeons with expertise in breast cancer surgery. We’ll take time to listen to you and talk about what you can expect from surgery. We’ll also present possible options for reconstruction. Then we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your personal goals.

We offer many surgical innovations, including breast conserving surgery, direct reconstruction at the time of surgery, and oncoplastic surgery to preserve the size and shape of your breast.

Our Chicagoland breast cancer surgeons specialize in the following procedures to treat breast cancer:

Surgical options

  • Breast conserving surgery
    • Lumpectomy: A surgeon removes the tumor and a small margin of surrounding tissue.
    • Partial mastectomy
    • Quadrantectomy

  • 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.
    • Modified mastectomy
    • Radical mastectomy

  • Lymph node surgery

  • Advanced breast reconstruction: Our plastic surgery team, including microsurgeons Lucio A Pavone, M.D. and Iris A Seitz, M.D., is experienced in advanced techniques:
    • Oncoplastic: This preserves the size and shape of women’s breast
    • Tissue transfers
    • DIEP flap breast reconstruction: An advanced microsurgical procedure to restore natural breasts after cancer without implants. Drs. Pavone and Seitz joined the health system together specifically to perform this advanced procedure, and operate in tandem.

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 treatment

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.

Reconstructive surgery

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

Breast cancer radiation therapy

Some breast cancer patients receive radiation therapy as part of treatment. Our radiation oncologists may use radiation therapy before surgery to help shrink a tumor or after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

We offer innovative, targeted radiation technologies, including intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT). In IORT, a large dose of radiation is targeted directly to the surgery site immediately following the removal of a breast tumor and before the incision is closed. This minimizes radiation exposure to healthy nearby tissue.

We also offer hypofractionated or abbreviated radiation therapy, which gives the traditional amount of radiation in a shorter time period to help reduce side effects.

Breast cancer care team

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, you have a multidisciplinary team of breast cancer experts working for you, including, but not limited to:

  • Surgical, medical and radiation oncologists
  • Plastic surgeon
  • Geneticist
  • Pathologist
  • Radiologist
  • Lymphedema therapist
  • Patient navigator (nurse)
  • Social worker

Our physicians are board-certified specialists in hematology, oncology, breast cancer surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, radiation therapy and more.

Meet our breast cancer experts

Breast cancer nurse navigators

Nurse navigators are patient educators and care guides whose mission is to improve the treatment experience for our breast cancer patients. Nurse navigators assist you and your family immediately following diagnosis all the way through treatment and into survivorship.

As soon as you receive a diagnosis, they take over everything for you. Patients have a direct phone number to call their navigator any time.

Your nurse navigator can help you better understand your diagnosis and treatment options, answer questions, advocate for you, schedule your appointments and help coordinate care between your physician, surgeon and other support services. They also partner with social workers to handle everything from paperwork for financial issues to disability information.

Contact a nurse navigator today. For Edward Hospital, call 630-527-5365. For Elmhurst Hospital, call 331-221-6036.

Breast cancer support

Treating breast cancer is a group effort. Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a variety of support services to help you through your cancer journey.

We offer the most cancer support programs and complementary therapies than any cancer center in the region. We can link you up with different breast cancer organizations. We can put you in touch with other breast cancer patients. We even offer programs for your family members.

Breast cancer survivorship

Our support continues after your breast cancer treatment is complete. Our Survivorship Clinic helps breast cancer survivors maintain continuity with the cancer center even if they aren’t receiving active treatment anymore.

Often, survivors experience challenges and late effects of treatment. For instance, some cancer drugs effect heart health. Once your treatment ends, you’ll receive a survivorship care plan, including all the treatments you received and information about follow-up care, to help protect your health in the long term.