Breast Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her life. It is the second most common cancer among women. While women are more likely to get breast cancer, men can develop this cancer as well. 

There are many different types of breast cancer. It can be grouped by:

  • Where cancer cells began to grow in the breast
  • If it is invasive, noninvasive or metastatic
  • Genetic information of the cancer, called molecular or intrinsic subtypes

Your doctor will use the information about your breast cancer and other information, like personal and family health history, to create a treatment plan that is right for you. 
 

Treatment

Surgery is a common treatment for breast cancer. Our goal for surgery is to remove all cancerous cells while leaving as much breast tissue and skin as possible for reconstructive surgery. The experienced breast surgeons at Penn State Cancer Institute are skilled in the latest minimally invasive techniques, including sentinel node biopsies, cryoablation, and skin and nipple sparing mastectomies.

Care Team

You may see one or more of the following specialists for your cancer treatment.
Alison Chetlen, DO Alison Chetlen, DO Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Leah Cream, MD Leah Cream, MD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Daleela Dodge, MD Daleela Dodge, MD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Harold Harvey, MD Harold Harvey, MD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Claudia Kasales, MD Claudia Kasales, MD Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Rena Kass, MD Rena Kass, MD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Julie Mack, MD Julie Mack, MD Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Rogerio Neves, MD, PhD Rogerio Neves, MD, PhD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
John Potochny, MD John Potochny, MD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Marc Rovito, MD Marc Rovito, MD Hematologist/Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Rebecca Sivarajah, MD Rebecca Sivarajah, MD Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Cristina Truica, MD Cristina Truica, MD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Meredith Watts, MD Meredith Watts, MD Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Kristine Widders, MD Kristine Widders, MD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Nicholas Zaorsky, MD Nicholas Zaorsky, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile

Locations

Penn State Breast Center

Penn State Breast Center

30 Hope Dr
Suite 1800 | Entrance A
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-5867
Penn State Health Medical Group Camp Hill - Specialties

Penn State Health Medical Group Camp Hill - Specialties

3025 Market St
Entrance A
Camp Hill, PA 17011

Phone: 717-761-8900

Clinical Trials

A Single Arm Phase II Study of Palbociclib in Combination With Tamoxifen as First Line Therapy for Metastatic Hormone Receptor Positive Breast Cancer: Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (BTCRC-BRE15-016) (16-053)
CUFF Study: Characterization of Upper Limb Function following Mastectomy and Reconstruction for Breast Cancer
Communication preferences related to over screening for cancer among older adults
Feasibility Study Phase C: Expansion in Multiple Institutions for Training in the Use of the LUM Imaging System for Intraoperative Detection of Residual Cancer in the Tumor Bed of Female Subjects with Breast Cancer
Feasibility and acceptability of mind-body strategies to increase physical activity and reduce health disparities in rural breast cancer survivors
IMpact of PRehabilitation in Oncology Via Exercise – Breast cancer
Impact of Perioperative Music on Quality of Life Measures and Biomarker Levels in Breast Cancer Patients
Nurse AMIE: A tablet based supportive care platform in Metastatic Breast Cancer (AMIE = Addressing Metastatic Individuals Everyday)
Phase II Trial of Palbociclib with Fulvestrant in Individuals with Hormone Receptor-Positive, HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer who have Progressed on Treatment with Palbociclib and an Aromatase Inhibitor
Pivotal study of the LUM Imaging System for assisting intraoperative detection of residual cancer in the tumor bed of female subjects with breast cancer.
Women In Steady Exercise Research - Neoadjuvant Exercise Trial

Groups, Classes and Support

Support groups offer an opportunity to connect with other patients, caregivers and families. Learn more about support groups offered at Penn State Cancer Institute.

Moving Forward

Join us in an informal setting where you can meet other women diagnosed with breast cancer. Share advice from your own experience, receive support and give strength to each other. Family and significant others are welcome to attend the group.

Moving Forward meets the second Monday of every month, from 6-7:30 p.m. at:
Penn State Breast Center
30 Hope Drive, Room 1710 A & B
Hershey, PA

Please call 717-531-7492 to register or if you have any questions. You can also email Nichole Cook or Lynn Fantom.

There is no cost to participate in this support group.

FORCE

FORCE is a support group for BRCA gene mutation carriers. Whenever you are in the process of determining your cancer risk or risk management options, you are not alone. FORCE provides information, support, awareness and advocacy for individuals and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian and related cancers.

Please contact 717-531-1631 for more information.

Pink Ribbon Program at the University Physician Center

The Pink Ribbon Program is a therapeutic exercise program developed by a survivor for patients and survivors. Exercise is an important part of treatment and recovery. The Pink Ribbon Program™ works in conjunction with your doctor’s recommendations for an exercise program. The Pink Ribbon Program™ helps stretch and strengthen the shoulder, chest, back, and abdominal muscles, allowing women to regain full range of motion to those areas affected by breast cancer surgery.  Suitable whether your surgery was recent or several years ago and accommodates all fitness levels.

Contact Jennifer Price via email or phone 717-531-7075 for more information.

Prevention and Screening

Everyone has some risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. However, the following factors may increase your risk:

  • Age
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Lifestyle
  • Strong family history of either disease
  • Exposure to ionizing radiation
  • Reproductive factors
  • A personal history of breast cancer

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Ignoring your family history with cancer isn't worth the risk. The Penn State Breast Center team can help you decrease your risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer.

It is important to keep in mind that true hereditary cancer is rare. In hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOCS), a "mutation" or change, in a single gene can be passed from either parent to a child. This inherited mutation can greatly increase a person's chance of developing breast, ovarian or other cancers.

Learning about your risk early may help you prevent cancer from occurring. It can also help you detect it early, when it is most treatable. Many women have found that understanding their inherited risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer provides a better opportunity - and additional options - to protect their health and the health of women in their family.

The Penn State Breast Center offers genetic consultation to help you understand your risk for HBOCOS. If appropriate, genetic testing may be considered to determine if you have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene alteration. Our team provides support every step of the way, from an initial consult to reviewing results and discussing your options.

What to expect

Our team of specialists meets with individuals to obtain a personal and family medical history. You will learn the significance of risk factors and the role genetics play in your cancer risk.

Then, you will be provided a detailed plan of care tailored to your specific risk level. Personal plans may include a schedule of periodic mammograms, physical exams, breast MRI, prophylactic surgery or preventative anti-hormone therapy. Tamoxifen and exemestane have been shown to decrease breast cancer incidence in women at higher-than-average risk of breast cancer.

Cancer risk assessment

Cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling require confidential and personalized care by a team of specialists. Counseling sessions provide more information about your risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Our cancer risk assessment includes:

  • A detailed family history evaluation
  • Personal risk assessment for breast and ovarian cancer
  • Genetic testing discussion (if needed) including risks, benefits and limitations
  • Complete review of personal screening and surveillance guidelines
  • Full written report from the patient's counseling sessions

Screening

Regular screening helps doctors detect breast cancer. When breast cancer is found in its early stages, it is often easier to treat with better outcomes. 

The Penn State Breast Center recommends that all women get an annual mammogram beginning at age 40. Learn more about our reasoning behind this recommendation (PDF). All women should also do a monthly breast self-exam, and check for lumps or changes to the breast or nipple.

Learn more about mammograms with these frequently asked questions:

What is a screening mammogram?

Screening mammograms are low dose X-ray exams of the breast. They are most often used to screen for breast cancer in women who have no symptoms. 

What is a diagnostic mammogram?

Diagnostic mammograms are for women who have breast symptoms, such as a lump or pain, or who have a change on their screening mammogram. They may need additional images taken, which are considered diagnostic. 

What is tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography? Is it a better option?

3-D mammography, also called tomosynthesis or digital breast tomosynthesis, is a state-of-the-art imaging technique that creates individual images of the breast tissue. This provides a clearer picture, helping your medical team better and more accurately identify a mass in your breast tissue.

Does 3-D mammography expose me to more radiation?

Yes. Radiation doses are increased but are below the Food and Drug Administration limits.

All screening mammograms at Penn State Health are read with computer-aided detection (CAD). This is a sophisticated scanner and computer program that marks potential areas of concern on the mammogram. CAD helps improve radiologists’ accuracy when reading mammograms.

Does my insurance cover a 3-D mammogram?

Pennsylvania law requires that annual mammograms must be available at no cost to consumers, regardless of whether it is 2-D or 3-D.  Out-of-state and private insurers may choose to not follow these guidelines.  It is important to check with your carrier before your appointment.

How often should I have a screening mammogram?

Women should have a yearly mammogram starting at age 40. The American Cancer Society’s guidelines state that starting annual mammograms at 40 can save the most lives. Many other professional medical organizations follow this recommendation, including the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI).

Learn more about breast screening guidelines.

What should I expect at my mammography screening appointment?

The entire appointment will take about 20-30 minutes. You will undress from the waist up. Your breasts will be in compression for a few seconds at a time to get each image. First, you will be positioned for a 2-D image. After the 2-D image is obtained, the tube will pivot to your side to obtain the 3-D image. Compression of your breasts is rarely painful. Penn State Health uses MammoPad - a soft, foam cushion that provides a warmer and more comfortable screening.

Learn more about mammography screening.

Schedule your screening mammogram today. Call our 24-hour hotline at 800-243-1455. We offer Saturday and evening appointments for added convenience.

Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound

Mammograms are not the only screening tool available for breast cancer. Some women may need additional tests, such as an automated whole breast ultrasound. This test may be recommended if you have dense breasts or a higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer. 

Your appointment for the ultrasound will take about 45 minutes. You will need to undress from the waist up and lie down on the exam table. Lotion will be applied to your breast. Then, a scanner will be used to take images of breast tissue. 

Learn more about automated whole breast ultrasound.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The American Cancer Society estimates that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her life. It is the second most common cancer among women.

Symptoms

There are often no symptoms of breast cancer. Women may feel a lump or notice unusual changes to their breasts. However, breast cancer is most commonly found only after a screening mammogram. If your physician notices an abnormality on your mammogram, you will need additional diagnostic testing. That may include:

  • Breast ultrasound
  • Breast MRI
  • Breast biopsy

Breast Ultrasound

A breast ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to take a clearer picture of your breast tissue. It can provide more detailed information about the lump, such as if it’s solid or a cyst.

Breast ultrasounds are easy and painless. You will need to undress from the waist up and lie on an exam table. Gel will be applied to the area with the lump. Your physician will use a small wand to scan the area and exam the lump. This entire procedure only takes about 30 minutes.

Learn more about breast ultrasounds.

Breast MRI

A breast MRI helps identify and stage breast cancer and other breast disease. It is also a valuable screening tool for women at high risk for breast cancer.

The breast MRI is a relatively comfortable and easy exam. You will be asked to arrive a half an hour early to fill out paperwork and change into a gown. You will also likely need an IV for a contrast agent called gadolinium. This helps your physician see normal and abnormal breast tissue. 

Then, you will be asked to lie on your stomach on a cushioned bed. Your breasts will be positioned within a padded cutout on the bed. This bed will move into the magnet for the exam. You will hear a muffled knocking sound that lasts for several minutes. During the scan, you can listen to music of your choice. You can make your exam successful by holding as still as possible. The entire appointment will take an hour and a half.

Learn more about magnetic resonance imaging.

Breast Biopsy

A biopsy takes a small sample of breast cells to be checked for cancer. Your doctor will suggest a biopsy if your screening or diagnostic tests showed a mass or other abnormal results.

During your biopsy, a local numbing agent will be used. We will use imaging, such as an ultrasound, mammogram or MRI, to identify the suspicious area on your breast. Then, we’ll insert a needle into the skin and collect cells through the needle. Next, we’ll place a small marker into the breast to mark the biopsy site.

This procedure takes about five to 15 minutes, depending on the type of biopsy you have. However, you can expect to be at your appointment for 45-60 minutes.

Breast Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her life. It is the second most common cancer among women. While women are more likely to get breast cancer, men can develop this cancer as well. 

There are many different types of breast cancer. It can be grouped by:

  • Where cancer cells began to grow in the breast
  • If it is invasive, noninvasive or metastatic
  • Genetic information of the cancer, called molecular or intrinsic subtypes

Your doctor will use the information about your breast cancer and other information, like personal and family health history, to create a treatment plan that is right for you. 
 

Surgery is a common treatment for breast cancer. Our goal for surgery is to remove all cancerous cells while leaving as much breast tissue and skin as possible for reconstructive surgery. The experienced breast surgeons at Penn State Cancer Institute are skilled in the latest minimally invasive techniques, including sentinel node biopsies, cryoablation, and skin and nipple sparing mastectomies.
You may see one or more of the following specialists for your cancer treatment.
Alison Chetlen, DO Alison Chetlen, DO Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Leah Cream, MD Leah Cream, MD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Daleela Dodge, MD Daleela Dodge, MD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Harold Harvey, MD Harold Harvey, MD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Claudia Kasales, MD Claudia Kasales, MD Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Rena Kass, MD Rena Kass, MD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Julie Mack, MD Julie Mack, MD Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Rogerio Neves, MD, PhD Rogerio Neves, MD, PhD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
John Potochny, MD John Potochny, MD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Marc Rovito, MD Marc Rovito, MD Hematologist/Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Rebecca Sivarajah, MD Rebecca Sivarajah, MD Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Cristina Truica, MD Cristina Truica, MD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Meredith Watts, MD Meredith Watts, MD Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Kristine Widders, MD Kristine Widders, MD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Nicholas Zaorsky, MD Nicholas Zaorsky, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Penn State Breast Center

Penn State Breast Center

30 Hope Dr
Suite 1800 | Entrance A
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-5867
Penn State Health Medical Group Camp Hill - Specialties

Penn State Health Medical Group Camp Hill - Specialties

3025 Market St
Entrance A
Camp Hill, PA 17011

Phone: 717-761-8900
A Single Arm Phase II Study of Palbociclib in Combination With Tamoxifen as First Line Therapy for Metastatic Hormone Receptor Positive Breast Cancer: Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (BTCRC-BRE15-016) (16-053)
CUFF Study: Characterization of Upper Limb Function following Mastectomy and Reconstruction for Breast Cancer
Communication preferences related to over screening for cancer among older adults
Feasibility Study Phase C: Expansion in Multiple Institutions for Training in the Use of the LUM Imaging System for Intraoperative Detection of Residual Cancer in the Tumor Bed of Female Subjects with Breast Cancer
Feasibility and acceptability of mind-body strategies to increase physical activity and reduce health disparities in rural breast cancer survivors
IMpact of PRehabilitation in Oncology Via Exercise – Breast cancer
Impact of Perioperative Music on Quality of Life Measures and Biomarker Levels in Breast Cancer Patients
Nurse AMIE: A tablet based supportive care platform in Metastatic Breast Cancer (AMIE = Addressing Metastatic Individuals Everyday)
Phase II Trial of Palbociclib with Fulvestrant in Individuals with Hormone Receptor-Positive, HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer who have Progressed on Treatment with Palbociclib and an Aromatase Inhibitor
Pivotal study of the LUM Imaging System for assisting intraoperative detection of residual cancer in the tumor bed of female subjects with breast cancer.
Women In Steady Exercise Research - Neoadjuvant Exercise Trial

Support groups offer an opportunity to connect with other patients, caregivers and families. Learn more about support groups offered at Penn State Cancer Institute.

Moving Forward

Join us in an informal setting where you can meet other women diagnosed with breast cancer. Share advice from your own experience, receive support and give strength to each other. Family and significant others are welcome to attend the group.

Moving Forward meets the second Monday of every month, from 6-7:30 p.m. at:
Penn State Breast Center
30 Hope Drive, Room 1710 A & B
Hershey, PA

Please call 717-531-7492 to register or if you have any questions. You can also email Nichole Cook or Lynn Fantom.

There is no cost to participate in this support group.

FORCE

FORCE is a support group for BRCA gene mutation carriers. Whenever you are in the process of determining your cancer risk or risk management options, you are not alone. FORCE provides information, support, awareness and advocacy for individuals and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian and related cancers.

Please contact 717-531-1631 for more information.

Pink Ribbon Program at the University Physician Center

The Pink Ribbon Program is a therapeutic exercise program developed by a survivor for patients and survivors. Exercise is an important part of treatment and recovery. The Pink Ribbon Program™ works in conjunction with your doctor’s recommendations for an exercise program. The Pink Ribbon Program™ helps stretch and strengthen the shoulder, chest, back, and abdominal muscles, allowing women to regain full range of motion to those areas affected by breast cancer surgery.  Suitable whether your surgery was recent or several years ago and accommodates all fitness levels.

Contact Jennifer Price via email or phone 717-531-7075 for more information.

Everyone has some risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. However, the following factors may increase your risk:

  • Age
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Lifestyle
  • Strong family history of either disease
  • Exposure to ionizing radiation
  • Reproductive factors
  • A personal history of breast cancer

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Ignoring your family history with cancer isn't worth the risk. The Penn State Breast Center team can help you decrease your risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer.

It is important to keep in mind that true hereditary cancer is rare. In hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOCS), a "mutation" or change, in a single gene can be passed from either parent to a child. This inherited mutation can greatly increase a person's chance of developing breast, ovarian or other cancers.

Learning about your risk early may help you prevent cancer from occurring. It can also help you detect it early, when it is most treatable. Many women have found that understanding their inherited risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer provides a better opportunity - and additional options - to protect their health and the health of women in their family.

The Penn State Breast Center offers genetic consultation to help you understand your risk for HBOCOS. If appropriate, genetic testing may be considered to determine if you have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene alteration. Our team provides support every step of the way, from an initial consult to reviewing results and discussing your options.

What to expect

Our team of specialists meets with individuals to obtain a personal and family medical history. You will learn the significance of risk factors and the role genetics play in your cancer risk.

Then, you will be provided a detailed plan of care tailored to your specific risk level. Personal plans may include a schedule of periodic mammograms, physical exams, breast MRI, prophylactic surgery or preventative anti-hormone therapy. Tamoxifen and exemestane have been shown to decrease breast cancer incidence in women at higher-than-average risk of breast cancer.

Cancer risk assessment

Cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling require confidential and personalized care by a team of specialists. Counseling sessions provide more information about your risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Our cancer risk assessment includes:

  • A detailed family history evaluation
  • Personal risk assessment for breast and ovarian cancer
  • Genetic testing discussion (if needed) including risks, benefits and limitations
  • Complete review of personal screening and surveillance guidelines
  • Full written report from the patient's counseling sessions

Screening

Regular screening helps doctors detect breast cancer. When breast cancer is found in its early stages, it is often easier to treat with better outcomes. 

The Penn State Breast Center recommends that all women get an annual mammogram beginning at age 40. Learn more about our reasoning behind this recommendation (PDF). All women should also do a monthly breast self-exam, and check for lumps or changes to the breast or nipple.

Learn more about mammograms with these frequently asked questions:

What is a screening mammogram?

Screening mammograms are low dose X-ray exams of the breast. They are most often used to screen for breast cancer in women who have no symptoms. 

What is a diagnostic mammogram?

Diagnostic mammograms are for women who have breast symptoms, such as a lump or pain, or who have a change on their screening mammogram. They may need additional images taken, which are considered diagnostic. 

What is tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography? Is it a better option?

3-D mammography, also called tomosynthesis or digital breast tomosynthesis, is a state-of-the-art imaging technique that creates individual images of the breast tissue. This provides a clearer picture, helping your medical team better and more accurately identify a mass in your breast tissue.

Does 3-D mammography expose me to more radiation?

Yes. Radiation doses are increased but are below the Food and Drug Administration limits.

All screening mammograms at Penn State Health are read with computer-aided detection (CAD). This is a sophisticated scanner and computer program that marks potential areas of concern on the mammogram. CAD helps improve radiologists’ accuracy when reading mammograms.

Does my insurance cover a 3-D mammogram?

Pennsylvania law requires that annual mammograms must be available at no cost to consumers, regardless of whether it is 2-D or 3-D.  Out-of-state and private insurers may choose to not follow these guidelines.  It is important to check with your carrier before your appointment.

How often should I have a screening mammogram?

Women should have a yearly mammogram starting at age 40. The American Cancer Society’s guidelines state that starting annual mammograms at 40 can save the most lives. Many other professional medical organizations follow this recommendation, including the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI).

Learn more about breast screening guidelines.

What should I expect at my mammography screening appointment?

The entire appointment will take about 20-30 minutes. You will undress from the waist up. Your breasts will be in compression for a few seconds at a time to get each image. First, you will be positioned for a 2-D image. After the 2-D image is obtained, the tube will pivot to your side to obtain the 3-D image. Compression of your breasts is rarely painful. Penn State Health uses MammoPad - a soft, foam cushion that provides a warmer and more comfortable screening.

Learn more about mammography screening.

Schedule your screening mammogram today. Call our 24-hour hotline at 800-243-1455. We offer Saturday and evening appointments for added convenience.

Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound

Mammograms are not the only screening tool available for breast cancer. Some women may need additional tests, such as an automated whole breast ultrasound. This test may be recommended if you have dense breasts or a higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer. 

Your appointment for the ultrasound will take about 45 minutes. You will need to undress from the waist up and lie down on the exam table. Lotion will be applied to your breast. Then, a scanner will be used to take images of breast tissue. 

Learn more about automated whole breast ultrasound.

The American Cancer Society estimates that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her life. It is the second most common cancer among women.

Symptoms

There are often no symptoms of breast cancer. Women may feel a lump or notice unusual changes to their breasts. However, breast cancer is most commonly found only after a screening mammogram. If your physician notices an abnormality on your mammogram, you will need additional diagnostic testing. That may include:

  • Breast ultrasound
  • Breast MRI
  • Breast biopsy

Breast Ultrasound

A breast ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to take a clearer picture of your breast tissue. It can provide more detailed information about the lump, such as if it’s solid or a cyst.

Breast ultrasounds are easy and painless. You will need to undress from the waist up and lie on an exam table. Gel will be applied to the area with the lump. Your physician will use a small wand to scan the area and exam the lump. This entire procedure only takes about 30 minutes.

Learn more about breast ultrasounds.

Breast MRI

A breast MRI helps identify and stage breast cancer and other breast disease. It is also a valuable screening tool for women at high risk for breast cancer.

The breast MRI is a relatively comfortable and easy exam. You will be asked to arrive a half an hour early to fill out paperwork and change into a gown. You will also likely need an IV for a contrast agent called gadolinium. This helps your physician see normal and abnormal breast tissue. 

Then, you will be asked to lie on your stomach on a cushioned bed. Your breasts will be positioned within a padded cutout on the bed. This bed will move into the magnet for the exam. You will hear a muffled knocking sound that lasts for several minutes. During the scan, you can listen to music of your choice. You can make your exam successful by holding as still as possible. The entire appointment will take an hour and a half.

Learn more about magnetic resonance imaging.

Breast Biopsy

A biopsy takes a small sample of breast cells to be checked for cancer. Your doctor will suggest a biopsy if your screening or diagnostic tests showed a mass or other abnormal results.

During your biopsy, a local numbing agent will be used. We will use imaging, such as an ultrasound, mammogram or MRI, to identify the suspicious area on your breast. Then, we’ll insert a needle into the skin and collect cells through the needle. Next, we’ll place a small marker into the breast to mark the biopsy site.

This procedure takes about five to 15 minutes, depending on the type of biopsy you have. However, you can expect to be at your appointment for 45-60 minutes.