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Our Program

The Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) Breast Cancer Program provides comprehensive, compassionate, state-of-the-art care. Our mission is to guide each patient through the decision-making process of risk evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment for breast cancer. Our goal is to provide every patient with the latest in scientific knowledge about breast cancer, while tailoring a care plan to each individual's needs and preferences. 

At HCI, we provide the following:

  • Experienced and knowledgeable breast cancer specialists who work together as a team to assure the best possible outcome for each individual
  • Cutting-edge screening and diagnostic equipment to ensure the earliest detection possible and best treatment strategies
  • Opportunities to participate in clinical research trials to help understand, prevent, and treat breast cancer
  • Coordination of care to facilitate communication between you and your entire health care team
  • Clinical trials that develop new and improved ways to prevent, detect, and treat breast cancer

Learn about mammography
from these Scope Radio shows
with Nicole Winkler, MD

Nicole Winkler, MD

In addition, our experts treat all forms of breast disease:

Benign Breast Problems - A common condition marked by benign (non-cancerous) changes in breast tissue. These changes may include irregular lumps or cysts, breast discomfort, sensitive nipples, and itching. These symptoms may change throughout the menstrual cycle and usually stop after menopause. Also called fibrocystic breast changes, fibrocystic breast disease, and mammary dysplasia.

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) - The most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. It begins in the cells that line the milk ducts in the breast, but has not spread through the walls of the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue.

Infiltrating (invasive) Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) - Cancer that has spread from where it started in the breast into surrounding, healthy tissue. Most infiltrating breast cancers start in the ducts. IDC can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. About eight out of ten invasive breast cancers are IDCs.

Infiltrating (invasive) Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) - ILC starts in the milk-producing glands (lobules). Like IDC, it can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. About one out of ten invasive breast cancers are ILCs. ILC may be harder to detect by a mammogram than IDCs.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) - A type of breast cancer in which the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm. The skin of the breast may also look dimpled and pitted, resembling the skin of an orange. The redness and warmth occur because the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin. The affected breast may become larger or firmer, tender, or itchy. In its early stages, IBC may be mistaken for a breast infection. Because there is no lump, it may not show up on a mammogram.

Lobular Carinoma In Situ (LCIS) - A condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lobules of the breast. LCIS seldom becomes invasive cancer; however, having it in one breast increases the risk of developing breast cancer in either breast.

Paget Disease of the Nipple - A form of breast cancer in which the tumor grows from ducts beneath the nipple onto the surface of the nipple. Symptoms commonly include itching and burning and an eczema-like condition around the nipple, sometimes accompanied by oozing or bleeding. This type of breast cancer is rare, accounting for only about 1% of all cases of breast cancer. It is almost always associated with either DCIS or with IDC.

Phyllodes Tumor - A type of tumor found in the connective tissue of the breast. These tumors are usually benign (non-cancerous) but on rare occasion may be malignant. Benign tumors are treated by removing the mass along with a small piece (margin) of normal breast tissue. A malignant tumor is treated by removing the mass along with a wider margin of normal issue, or by mastectomy.

Other Breast Concerns

  • Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia (ADH) - Non-cancerous condition in which the cells that line the milk ducts of the breasts experience abnormal growth. While ADH is not cancerous, having it may increase the risk for developing breast cancer.
  • Breast Pain - A common type of discomfort among women. Pain can range from minor to severe, occurring most frequently in younger, premenopausal women. Breast pain alone rarely means a person has cancer.
  • Cysts - Fluid-filled sacs that often feel like soft grapes. They can be tender, especially prior to a menstrual period. Cysts may be drained in the doctor's office. If the fluid removed is clear or greenish and the lump disappears after drainage, no further treatment is needed. If the fluid is bloody, it is sent to the lab to look for cancer cells. If the lump doesn't disappear or recurs, it is usually removed surgically.
  • Fibroadenomas - Non-cancerous lumps that feel rubbery and are easily moved within the breast tissue. Like fibrocystic changes, they occur most often during the reproductive years. Typically, they are not painful. In rare cases, they can become cancerous.
  • Fibrocystic Changes - These lumps and bumps can occur in either or both breasts. They are common in women, especially during the reproductive years. Having fibrocystic changes does not increase the risk for breast cancer, but they can make it more difficult to screen for breast cancer. Pain or tenderness is often associated with fibrocystic changes.
  • Hyperplasia - An abnormal growth of cells within an organ or tissue.
  • Nipple Discharge - Fluid coming from the nipple, unrelated to lactation. Discharge may appear milky, or slightly yellow, green, bloody, or brown. Cancer is rarely the underlying cause, but it can be caused by other conditions that require treatment.

Other causes of breast lumps include the following:

  • Milk cysts (sacs filled with milk) and infections (mastitis) - These typically occur during breastfeeding or just after childbirth.
  • Injury - Sometimes if the breast is badly bruised, there will be a collection of blood that feels like a lump. These lumps tend to get better on their own in a matter of days or weeks. If not, a doctor may have to drain the blood.
  • Lipoma - A collection of fatty tissue.
  • Intraductal papilloma - A small growth inside a milk duct of the breast. In some cases the only symptom is a watery, pink discharge from the nipple. Since a watery or bloody discharge can also be a sign of breast cancer, patients with this symptom should be seen by a doctor.

Sources: National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society