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Breast Cancer

Your partner in every step of the fight against breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the second-most diagnosed cancer in women, behind only skin cancer. In fact, one out of eight women will get a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime.

But you’re not in this alone. The breast cancer team at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute will be with you every step of the way -- from diagnosis through recovery. We’ll work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. And we’ll connect you with the support services and resources you need to beat this disease and live life to the fullest.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the tissues of the breast, chest, chest wall, or skin develop and grow out of control. Some types of breast cancer grow slowly, while others grow rapidly and can spread to other areas of the body. When breast cancer spreads to other areas of the body, it is called metastatic breast cancer.

Breast cancer is far more common in women -- especially women over age 50. Male breast cancer is rare, but it does occur in about 1 percent of men.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

Your doctor may detect breast cancer through screening technology such as a mammogram. You or your partner also may detect a tumor during a self-exam. Breast cancer symptoms can include:

  • A thickened area that feels different from surrounding tissue
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple Changes in the breast’s appearance, shape, or size
  • Breast skin that becomes red or inflamed, begins flaking, or takes on a pitted texture like an orange peel
  • A nipple that becomes inverted

If you notice any of these signs, see your doctor right away -- even if you recently had a normal mammogram.

What causes breast cancer?

We don’t know the exact cause of breast cancer. We do know there are factors that put you at increased risk for it. The main ones include gender; age; and a previous history of certain cancers, including breast, uterine, ovarian, or colon cancers.

Family history can put you at even higher risk of developing breast cancer. Genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase your breast cancer risk and are passed down from one generation to the next. We offer genetic testing and counseling to determine if you are a carrier of one of these genes. If you are, we’ll walk you through your options to reduce your risk.

How will my breast cancer be diagnosed?

As with any cancer, early detection is key. We use advanced screening and diagnostic tests such as mammograms and sentinel node biopsy to find and identify breast cancer.

We know you want to get your test results right away, so we’ll share them with you as fast as we can -- the same day if possible.

What are my treatment options?

Each patient and breast cancer is unique, and treatment should be as well. We take your type of cancer, health needs, and concerns into account to create a treatment personalized plan. Your breast cancer treatment may include a range of options, such as:

Why should I choose Henry Ford for my breast cancer care?

When you have breast cancer, you want highly specialized experts by your side. Your Henry Ford team will include cancer doctors from a range of disciplines who meet regularly to review your case. You’ll also have a dedicated breast cancer nurse to support you throughout the process.

Your team will ensure that you have the information, education, counseling, and support you need to make decisions about your breast cancer treatment and care.

We received accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, a program of the American College of Surgeons. When you receive care at an NAPBC-accredited center, you know you will have access to:

  • A team approach to treatment
  • Comprehensive care, including a full range of state-of-the-art services
  • Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options

Where can I find breast cancer support services?

Sometimes you need more than medicine. We offer support groups and programs to patients and families before, during, and after breast cancer treatment.

Remember, you’re not alone. Others have walked the same path as you. Some of our patients have shared their stories about battling breast cancer so you can learn from their experiences.

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