Breast cancer treatment in Denver
At HealthONE, partner with Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute to provide cancer care. Through this partnership, we are able to provide individualized, innovative breast care and breast cancer services to the Greater Denver area. Our goal is to use preventive care to detect breast cancer early. If breast cancer is detected, we guide patients and their family members through diagnosis, treatment, recovery and survivorship.
For more information about cancer diagnosis, treatment and other services, call askSARAH at (303) 253-3225.
Multidisciplinary breast cancer experts
At HealthONE hospitals, we offer you access to a group of multidisciplinary expert physicians. This specialized team will review each patient’s case to collaborate and develop a comprehensive care plan specific to each patient.
Members of our multidisciplinary breast care team include:
- Breast ultrasound technician—a staff member specially trained in performing breast ultrasounds
- Digital mammography technician—a staff member specially trained in performing digital mammography exams
- Medical oncologist—a physician who works with you to explain the treatment options available and will determine if chemotherapy is needed
- Oncology nurse navigator—an oncology-certified nurse who specializes in breast cancer and acts as your first point of contact to guide you through the entirety of your cancer journey
- Radiologist—a physician who oversees imaging tests and specializes in breast imaging techniques
- Surgical oncologist—a surgical specialist who evaluates your breast cancer diagnosis and determines whether surgery is necessary
Breast cancer screening
Early detection of breast cancer allows for the best possible outcomes. This is why our hospitals offer breast cancer screenings and a variety of breast imaging services, including mammography and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The breast cancer specialists of Sarah Cannon recommend an annual screening mammogram for women 40-74 years old. Your breast cancer screening strategy should be discussed with your physician, as women at high risk of developing breast cancer may need to begin screening earlier.
Breast cancer risk factors
The following factors indicate a higher risk for developing breast cancer:
- Dense breasts
- First-degree relative with breast cancer
- Gene mutations, including ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, CDH1, CHEK2, NBN, NF1, PALB2, PTEN, STK11, TP53
- Menopause at 55 years old or older
- Personal history of breast cancer
- Previous diagnosis of atypical ductal hyperplasia, atypical lobular hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in the breast tissue
- Radiation therapy to the chest at a young age
- Starting menstruation at 12 years old or younger
Diagnosing breast cancer
If a breast imaging exam shows a mass that cannot be designated as noncancerous, our doctors perform a breast biopsy. Breast biopsies are necessary because they help determine if a breast mass is non-cancerous (benign) or malignant (cancerous). They also allow us to accurately diagnose and stage breast cancer.
There are two types of non-surgical biopsies: breast biopsies and ultrasound-guided breast biopsies.
- Stereotactic breast biopsies—Stereotactic breast biopsies are X-ray guided. This exam is necessary when mammography shows a mass, a cluster of tiny calcium deposits or another area of abnormal breast tissue that the mammogram cannot confirm is non-cancerous. If this is the case, it may be necessary to obtain a tissue sample that can be examined to detect breast cancer cells.
- Ultrasound-guided breast biopsies—In ultrasound-guided breast biopsies, the ultrasound images will pinpoint where the breast abnormality is so cells can be collected and analyzed. This biopsy takes less time than a stereotactic breast biopsy and is used when the breast abnormality can be detected with ultrasound.
We also offer additional methods of detecting and diagnosing breast cancer.
Second opinion services
We understand the importance of an accurate breast cancer diagnosis. For this reason, our breast program provides compassionate, thoughtful second opinion services. We work with you to help you understand all testing, results and treatment options.
Treatment options for breast cancer
Our team will work with you to develop a personalized breast cancer treatment plan. Treatment options may include:
- Medical oncology treatment
- Radiation therapy treatment
- Surgical treatment
Medical oncology treatment for breast cancer
We offer several medical oncology services for the treatment of breast cancer. The type of treatment that is right for you will depend on your specific diagnosis.
These therapies use man-made proteins that alter the growth and replication of a cancer cell by interfering with its specific biological pathways. This stops the cancer from growing and spreading.
Chemotherapy is a type of treatment that uses a drug or combination of drugs to treat cancer. The goal of chemotherapy is to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. These medications may be used in conjunction with other therapies to treat breast cancer.
The hormones estrogen and progesterone can stimulate the growth of some breast cancers—which are called hormone-sensitive or hormone-dependent breast cancers. Hormone therapy is used to stop or slow the growth of these tumors.
Radiation treatment for breast cancer
We offer advanced, specialized radiation treatment options for breast cancer. Your radiation oncologist will help determine which radiation therapy technique will be effective for your type of breast cancer.
Accelerated partial breast therapy
This is external or internal beam radiation targeting only the small area where a tumor has been surgically removed. This form of radiation is typically completed with five consecutive daily treatments.
This form of radiation treats breast cancer from within the breast where a tumor has been surgically removed.
Intraoperative radiation therapy
This treatment allows for the delivery of a concentrated, single dose of radiation delivered directly to the tumor site during breast cancer surgery. Typically, no further radiation therapy will be needed following intraoperative radiation therapy.
Partial breast radiation therapy
This therapy uses external beam radiation targeting only the small area of the breast where a tumor has been surgically removed. Partial breast radiation therapies significantly reduce the amount of time needed to complete the treatment. They also help limit and prevent radiation exposure to healthy tissue and organs close to the breasts, including the lungs, heart, ribs, muscles and skin.
Whole breast radiation therapy
This technique involves external beam radiation therapy that uses radiation from high-energy X-ray beams to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. This treatment covers the entire breast, as well as the chest wall and lymph node areas, as needed. Whole breast radiation therapy is typically completed during a period of six to seven weeks.
Surgical treatment options for breast cancer
Many patients with breast cancer need some form of surgery based upon their cancer type and medical history. We provide surgical treatment options to remove as much breast cancer as possible, see if your cancer has spread, relieve symptoms of advanced cancer and restore breast shape after cancer has been removed. We will help you understand all of your options so you and your surgeon can make the right choice for you.
A lumpectomy is a breast-conserving surgery where only part of the breast containing cancer is removed, sparing surrounding healthy breast and nipple tissue. The size and location of your tumor will determine how much breast tissue needs to be removed.
Lymph node removal
The removal of a lymph node helps your doctor determine the extent of your cancer diagnosis. Lymph node removal may occur during a lumpectomy or mastectomy, or as a separate option.
A mastectomy is the surgical removal of an entire breast or both breasts (double mastectomy). The majority of women will not require this more invasive treatment option. Your surgeons work closely with you to determine the appropriateness of mastectomy according to your particular cancer type, stage, genetic risk and personal wishes.
Breast reconstruction surgery helps restore the shape of your breasts following a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Reconstruction may take place immediately following your surgery or years later. Not all women opt for reconstruction. Talk to your surgeon about reconstructive surgery before your mastectomy or lumpectomy to determine the treatment plan that is right for you.
Breast cancer rehabilitation
We offer rehabilitation services for women who are recovering from breast cancer. Rehabilitation focuses on specialized treatment protocols for patients after breast surgery, as well as during and following chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It also helps reduce symptoms that women may experience due to treatment.