Breast Health

Call the Breast Care Center at (970) 569-7656 with questions or concerns about your breast health.
Monday-Friday | 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Breast health covers a range of benign and malignant diagnosis and treatment options.


High Risk Program

To make an appointment with the breast surgeon in the High Risk Program, call (970) 569-7656.

Our high risk program is for patients who have an increased risk of breast cancer.
We monitor our patients through the program as follows:
  • Clinical visits with our breast specialist
  • Coordinated breast care between your primary doctor and the breast specialist breast program 
  • Genetic counseling and testing
  • Individualized program tailored to meet your needs to help reduce the risk of breast cancer and detect cancer early
  • Annual breast imaging with mammography and other modalities, nutrition and lifestyle modifications.
Patients who may be at increased risk for breast cancer include:
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Prior breast biopsy/atypia
  • Prior breast cancer
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Family history of ovarian cancer
For more information on risk factors, go to www.myriadtests.com. You may also schedule an appointment with our breast surgeon or genetic counselor to learn more about genetic counseling, testing and risk factors for breast cancer.


Benign Breast Disease

As noted earlier, more than 80% of all breast biopsies are not cancerous. While you should immediately report any changes in your breasts to your physician, remember that most times the change will not result in a diagnosis of breast cancer. Some examples of typically benign breast changes include benign breast lesions such as:


Dense Breast Tissue  

Dense breast tissue is comprised of less fat and more connective tissue, which appears white on a mammogram. Cancer also appears white on a mammogram; thus, tumors are often hidden behind the dense tissue. Approximately 40 percent of woman have dense breasts; however, as a woman ages, her breasts usually become more fatty. 

Breast Pain

Breast pain is a common breast problem. Although continued pain is a concern, it is rarely the only symptom of breast cancer. Most breast cancers involve a mass or lump, either found by the patient or clinician or found as an abnormality on routine breast imaging. About 70 percent of women experience breast pain in their lives, and only 15 percent will require treatment. Please contact your care provider with any continuing breast pain, and be sure to have a clinical breast examination prior to making your breast imaging appointment.

Mastitis/Breast Infections

Mastitis is an inflammation of breast tissue that can be a result of an infection. The inflammation results in breast pain, swelling, warmth and redness. You might also experience fever and chills.

Mastitis is more commonly seen in women who are breast-feeding (lactation mastitis), but can also occur in women who aren't breast-feeding and in men. Mastitis is often treated with antibiotics. If there is an abscess, ultrasound aspiration with a small needle may be performed and in certain cases, surgical drainage be required. 

Nipple Discharge Spontaneous nipple discharge is abnormal and should be evaluated by your physician. The most common cause of nipple discharge is a benign growth in the ducts called a papilloma. Because most breast disease originates from the cells in the ducts, minimally invasive procedures that can directly assess early changes in these areas are critically important to the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Ductoscopy is a procedure used to evaluate nipple discharge. A small camera (0.7-0.9 mm) is inserted into the duct to evaluate the duct anatomy and identify abnormalities. During this procedure ductal fluid can be obtained for analysis. If an abnormality is identified, it can be removed through a surgical biopsy. This procedure may identify small abnormalities that are not detected on other imaging modalities and therefore is a useful tool to assist in the early detection of breast cancer. Click here to watch a video clip and learn more. You may read the article on KGTV 10 News San Diego here.

Fibrocystic Tissue Fibrocystic changes in breast tissue are the most common cause of benign breast lumps. They develop from hormonal fluctuations related to a woman’s menstrual cycle. These benign breast lumps are often fluid-filled cysts. They can change in size and often have associated breast swelling and tenderness based on the woman’s hormonal cycle.

Fibroadenoma This is a benign breast lump commonly found in younger women. It feels rubbery when performing a breast self-exam, and will move easily within the breast tissue. One-third of fibroadenomas grow larger, one-third stay the same and one-third become smaller. Fibroadenomas 3 cm larger should be surgically removed, as well as smaller masses that continue to grow larger. While fibroadenomas can cause concern, they do not develop into cancer and do not increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
 

Malignant Breast Disease

Unfortunately, 20% of all breast biopsies are cancerous, or malignant. But early detection leads to early diagnosis, which leads to early treatment and return to normal life much more quickly. Treatment options available to you will depend upon a number of factors, including the type of tumor, the extent of the disease at the time of diagnosis, your age, medical history, and other factors. Your personal preferences, such as self-image and lifestyle will also be important considerations when you and your physician decide the course of your treatment. It is important that you also meet with other members of our multidisciplinary breast care team to make sure that your emotional as well as physical needs are being met.

Once you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you may go through a staging process to determine if the tumor has spread to other parts of your body. Your physician may order additional studies such as a breast MRI, PET scan/CT scan, and bone scan. An abnormal result in any of these studies does not always mean that the tumor has spread, but it may prompt further testing.