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Breast Cancer

Our approach to breast cancer care

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women after skin cancer. At MaineHealth, our cancer specialists offer comprehensive breast cancer services that include early detection, diagnostic imaging, and personalized treatment. Breast cancer occurs when abnormal (cancer) cells form in the breast. A family history and other factors may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Finding a breast cancer specialist

MaineHealth Cancer Care Network specialists offer comprehensive breast cancer services that include early detection, diagnostic imaging, and personalized treatment. The list below shows which doctors may be involved in your breast cancer care. Select the type of specialist you're looking for below to find a provider in your area.

  • Medical Oncologists treat cancer using medicine (chemotherapy, targeted therapy, biotherapy, and/or immunotherapy) rather than radiation.
  • Breast Surgeons focus on the surgical management of cancer.
  • Radiation Oncologists use high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal tissue.
  • Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons provide breast reconstruction for patients who've had surgery as part of breast cancer treatment. Before undergoing mastectomy or other surgical treatment, patients can explore options for immediate or delayed reconstructive breast surgery.
  • Cancer Patient Navigators make sure you and your family have everything you need to make informed and timely decisions about your treatment.

Why do I need so many doctors?

It is important that cancer specialists highly trained in their area of care participate in evaluating your diagnosis and planning your treatment.

Breast changes may be signs of breast cancer

A lump or change in the breast may be a symptom of breast cancer.

Others symptoms can include:

  • Swelling in all or part of the breast
  • Skin dimpling on the breast
  • Skin irritation on the breast
  • Nipple turning inward
  • Changes in the nipple or breast skin that can include redness, scaling, thickening
  • Fluid (not breast milk) leaking from the nipple

Check with your provider about when to schedule a mammogram

Patients are encouraged to do regular breast self-exams to check for lumps, changes in breast size or shape, or any other changes in the breasts or underarm (armpit).

Clinical screening often includes a clinical breast exam as part of a woman's regular checkup. Women also are encouraged to have regular mammograms, and should talk to their provider about when to schedule one.

Depending on the results, your local healthcare provider may refer you to a breast cancer specialist.

Breast cancer treatment options vary depending on the cancer

Treatment for breast cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer.  Complementary and integrative therapies, while not primary treatment options can be discussed with our providers.  Common treatments for breast cancer include: