Breast Cancer Care
Why choose UCLA Health for breast cancer care?
We deliver breast cancer care through the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC). JCCC is one of only 51 cancer centers recognized by the National Institutes of Health for innovative cancer research and clinical care.
Our breast cancer specialists offer unwavering support throughout your health journey. Count on us for:
- Expertise in breast cancer: Our specialists are passionate about leading-edge, innovative care. We offer the most up-to-date preventive, diagnostic and treatment options available.
- Compassionate, collaborative care: We partner with you and your family in the decision-making process. We ensure that you have all the information you need to weigh your care options.
- Access to innovative research: As an academic medical center, we offer our patients the opportunity to take part in the latest clinical trials that study new treatments. UCLA Health research led to the FDA approval of Herceptin®, a leading breast cancer treatment.
- Convenience: UCLA Health offers breast cancer care in nearly 20 ambulatory cancer care clinics close to work or home. Community practices are part of the JCCC and offer effective patient-centered care. For added convenience you can also ask questions and schedule appointments through our patient portal, myUCLAhealth.
Your breast cancer team
Your care team includes different specialists who work together to deliver quality care. Experts may include:
- Medical oncologist: A physician who specializes in treating cancer and serves as your primary doctor throughout your cancer journey.
- Radiation oncologist: A doctor who specializes in treating cancer with high doses of radiation (radiation therapy).
- Surgical oncologist: A specialist who treats cancer by removing tissues or tumors.
- Reconstructive plastic surgeon: A surgeon who can reconstruct breasts using implants, abdominal tissue or both.
- Pathologist: A physician who examines tissue samples to diagnose disease.
- Genetic counselor: A medical professional who evaluates and counsels people on their inherited cancer risks.
Our breast health services
From diagnosis to treatment to post-cancer care, UCLA Health’s Breast Cancer Care program offers comprehensive services, including:
Early detection and diagnosis for breast cancer
A diagnosis helps us establish our plan. We use state-of-the-art technology to identify cancer early, when it’s most treatable. Once we find breast cancer, you may need more testing, such as:
- Breast imaging: The use of screening tools to visualize tumors such as ultrasound, 2D and 3D mammography and MRI.
- Breast biopsy: A minimally invasive procedure where a doctor collects a sample of breast tissue to evaluate for suspected breast cancer. The specialist may perform a biopsy using X-ray (stereotactic), ultrasound or MRI guidance.
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy: A procedure to remove and study the underarm lymph nodes closest to your breast to determine if cancer has spread.
- Auxiliary lymph node dissection: A way to help understand how far cancer has spread by studying other lymph nodes.
At the High-Risk Breast Clinic, our specialists work together to evaluate factors that make women more susceptible to breast cancer. We offer genetic counseling and testing for changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, among others. Learn more about the cancer genetics program at UCLA Health.
Breast cancers we treat
Regardless of the diagnosis, we are here to help. We successfully treat a wide range of breast cancers, including:
- Angiosarcoma: A rare and aggressive form of breast cancer that starts in the breast's lymphatic and blood vessels and spreads quickly.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ: Breast cancer that forms and stays in the milk duct.
- Inflammatory breast cancer: A rare type of breast cancer with symptoms such as redness and swelling.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ: Cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands of the breast.
- Male breast cancer: A rare form of cancer that usually occurs in the breast tissue of older men.
- Paget's disease of the breast: An uncommon cancer type that affects the skin of the nipple or areola.
- Triple negative: Breast cancer that does not express any of the common hormone receptors (estrogen, progesterone or HER2), which therefore requires different treatment types.
Treatments we offer
Our oncologists provide patients with lifesaving treatments, including:
Nonsurgical breast cancer treatments
We can often treat breast cancer without surgery using:
- Anti-hormonal therapy: Medications that block or lower specific hormones that lead to breast cancer growth.
- Chemotherapy: Drugs to shrink breast cancer and possibly prevent the need for surgery. Chemo may also be used after surgery to kill remaining cancer cells and lower the risk of cancer returning.
- Radiation therapy: The use of high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells, without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue.
- Targeted therapy: Therapy for hormone-fueled cancers to lower the risk of recurrence after surgery.
- Clinical trials: Research studies of promising new treatments that are not yet available to the public.
Your care team will decide if surgery is necessary to remove cancer in the breast and reduce the risk of it returning. We help you weigh your surgical options, which include:
- Lumpectomy: Removing cancerous and abnormal breast tissue.
- Mastectomy: Removing one or both breasts.
Reconstructive breast surgery
Breast reconstruction is a personal choice. Since everyone is different, our team offers consultations to discuss options, including forgoing reconstruction and “going flat.” We offer a full range of procedures, including:
- Immediate reconstruction: Inserting implants after your mastectomy, while you are still asleep.
- Delayed reconstruction: Placing implants in a separate procedure after you finish your cancer treatment.
- Tissue-based reconstruction (flap surgery): Transplanting extra skin and tissue from your abdomen to build natural-looking breasts.
- Nipple and areola reconstruction: Creating natural-looking nipples and areolas during an outpatient procedure. A medical tattoo artist can also add color to improve the appearance of your breasts.
- “Going flat” after mastectomy: Creating a cosmetically acceptable flat chest wall after mastectomy.