Conditions We Treat

Breast Cancer

Patient Visits Now Through Telehealth

Einstein’s determination to care for our community and staff continues as we expand services to telehealth. Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia and Einstein Medical Center Montgomery’s Breast Health Services are keeping patients as our highest priority with expanding appointments by phone or online. Your appointment, including second opinion consultations, can be done through your telephone, smart phone, tablet or computer in the comfort of your own home.

For in-person exams, diagnostic workups and interventional care, know that all operations continue as usual. Our offices remain open and are ready to provide care. For the time being, please continue with treatments prescribed by doctors.

To schedule a telehealth appointment or contact the Breast Health Services, please call: 215-254-2730 (Philadelphia) or 484-622-7800 (Montgomery)

Einstein's breast health program includes a team of surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and nurse navigators who all work together to deliver exceptional, personalized care.

Diagnostic Testing

Einstein offers 3D mammography exams at four convenient location. Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia and Montgomery are both recognized by the American College of Radiology as Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence.

The images provided by 3D mammography are clearer and more detailed than those created with 2D mammography, helping radiologists spot cancers earlier and more precisely identify their location. Our mammography units also feature SmartCurve™ technology for a more comfortable experience and more accurate imaging. We offer weekend and evening appointments as well as real-time results, so that you can get a mammography when it’s convenient for you, and have the results before you leave.

Annual screenings are recommended for women age 35 and above with a family history of breast cancer, and women ages 40–55 without a family history. For women over age 55, screenings are recommended every two years, or they can continue annually

Find an Einstein mammography center near you.

Using SonoCiné Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound (AWBUS™) technology, your doctor can obtain a more detailed picture of your breasts compared to a mammography. This procedure can help identify cancer in women with dense breast tissue or implants, and it is often used to determine whether a questionable mass is a tumor or a benign cyst.

A breast MRI creates a very high-resolution image of your breasts, letting your doctor see possible tumors that other screening methods cannot detect. Your doctor may recommend an MRI if other screening results are unclear, or if other factors put you at high risk for breast cancer.

If your imaging results show an abnormality, Einstein offers fast-track appointments so you can get a biopsy done as quickly as possible, usually within two days of your mammography. Using the smallest needles possible, we take a small tissue sample of the abnormality to determine whether it is cancerous.

If your abnormality turns out to be cancerous, our breast surgeons and other cancer specialists will see you as quickly as possible to discuss treatment options.

Sentinel node biopsies are used to determine if your cancer has spread from the primary tumor into nearby lymph nodes, which is usually the first place breast cancer will spread. During a sentinel node biopsy, your doctor will locate the lymph nodes most closely connected to the tumor by using a radioactive or colored dye, then surgically remove the nodes and have them tested to see if cancer cells are present. This state-of-the-art technique allows your doctor to determine what stage your cancer is in, and spare as much healthy tissue as possible when removing the cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with certain types of breast cancer at an early stage, your doctor may order the Oncotype DX® genomic test to help determine the best course of treatment. Testing a sample of your tumor and analyzing certain genes will help predict how the cancer is likely to respond to chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and how likely it is to come back.


Advanced Treatment Options

Once your doctors have fully diagnosed the type and stage of your breast cancer, they will meet to discuss your case and arrive at treatment recommendations that include the delivery of comprehensive, coordinated care. During your treatment, your doctors will continue to get regular updates on your progress, and they may recommend adjustments to your treatment plan depending on how the cancer is responding, and if there are any other concerns.

Radiation therapy can help shrink small tumors without surgery, shrink larger tumors before surgery or kill cancer cells that may have spread, all with minimal damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. At Einstein, we use highly advanced technology to deliver extremely precise doses of radiation, including the Varian TrueBream® linear accelerator (LINAC), which is available at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, and the Varian Trilogy®, which is available in both Philadelphia and Montgomery.

By creating a 3D map of the cancer using a variety of advanced imaging system, we are able to guide the radiation beam with an incredible degree of accuracy, minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. The most common form of radiation therapy is known as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) when targeting tumors in the brain. However, other types of advanced radiation therapy are also available at Einstein:

Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) – This type of radiation therapy allows your doctor to adjust the radiation beam as the tumor moves during treatment, which is especially useful for tumors in areas such as the lung.

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy – This type of radiation therapy uses multiple small beams of varying intensities that can change shape during the treatment, helping to deliver higher, more precise doses of radiation with fewer side effects.

RapidArc® Radiation Therapy – One of the fastest and most precise radiation treatments available is RapidArc®, which can deliver the same amount of radiation up to eight times faster than other leading cancer treatments, and can be used to treat head and neck, prostate and lung cancers.

Also known as a lumpectomy, and usually combined with radiation therapy, the goal of breast conservation therapy is to preserve as much of the patient's breast tissue as possible while removing the entire cancer.

In some cases, most or all of the patient's breast tissue will need to be removed. In these cases, our surgeons will perform a skin-sparing mastectomy whenever possible. Reconstructive surgery is performed at the time of the mastectomy, and the patient’s own skin is left attached, helping to create a more natural-looking breast.

Our breast surgeons are experts in many types of reconstructive surgery, including one of the latest techniques, known as oncoplastic surgery, or oncoplasty. This procedure is a good option for patients who require a large lumpectomy, and it involves sculpting the remaining tissue and realigning the nipple and areola to restore a natural breast shape, as well as modifying the opposite breast to create symmetry.

In addition to surgery and radiation, a variety of other therapies may be recommended to kill cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, or prevent it from returning.

Chemotherapy drugs target and kill dividing cells , which makes them an effective treatment against cancer, because cancer cells divide much more often than most normal types of cells.

Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy or surgery, and can target cancer cells that may have been missed by other treatments, or have spread to other areas of the body.

Your individual chemotherapy treatment plan will vary based on the type of cancer you have, where it is in your body, your overall health and other factors. A typical treatment plan may include four to eight rounds of chemotherapy with several treatments per round, followed by a recovery period of two to four weeks. Most chemotherapy drugs are administered intravenously on an outpatient basis, but you may also have the option of taking tablets or capsules.

Targeted therapies are cancer drugs like chemotherapy, but work differently than chemotherapy in that they target the cancer specific genes or proteins or are aimed against the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. Targeted therapies can have effects such as slowing or stopping formation of the blood vessels that supply the tumor, triggering the patient's own immune system to attack the cancer cells, or increasing the effectiveness of standard chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Hormone therapy, or endocrine therapy, works by blocking the body’s ability to produce hormones, or changing how those hormones behave in the body. This type of therapy is often used to slow or stop the growth of certain types of cancer that are particularly hormone sensitive, which include breast and prostate cancer. Hormone therapy can also reduce or prevent cancer symptoms, help destroy cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body, and reduce the chance that the cancer will return after it is treated. Hormone therapy can involve oral medications, injections or, in some cases, surgery to remove the organs that produce the hormones.

Through our clinical trials program, Einstein offers some of the most cutting-edge and experimental cancer therapies for breast cancer available anywhere, including experimental partial breast irradiation techniques that offer shortened treatment time and reduced radiation exposure. Learn more about our clinical trials program,and talk to your doctor to see if you qualify for any ongoing trials.

Frequently Asked Questions

One first symptom of breast cancer is a lump in the breast or under the arm. Other common first symptoms of breast cancer include changes in breast shape or size, pain, dimpling of the skin, and retraction or sudden onset of discharge from the nipple.

Seven common warning signs of breast cancer include:

  • A lump in your breast, underarm, or around the collarbone.
  • Breast changes including changes in size, shape, skin texture, or temperature.
  • Breast tenderness, breast or nipple pain.
  • Sudden onset of new pain in one area of the breast that does not go away.
  • Skin irritation or a flat or indented area on the breast.
  • Nipple changes including burning, itching, soreness, or the appearance of the nipple pulling inward.
  • Nipple discharge.

The four most common types of breast cancer include:

  • Ductal cancer that is confined to the breast milk ducts.
  • Ductal cancer that has spread from the milk ducts to other areas of the breast and body.
  • Lobular cancer that is confined to the milk-producing glands of the breast.
  • Lobular cancer that has spread from the milk-producing glands to other areas of the breast and body.

Breast cancer starts when breast cells grow abnormally. When these abnormal cells accumulate, they can form a solid tumor that can be detected on a mammogram or similar test even before it can be felt as a lump. When a tumor has the potential to spread to other parts of the body it is considered to be cancerous.

If a breast biopsy has been recommended, this does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. A breast biopsy is a procedure that removes a small portion of breast tissue for examination to see if it contains cancer cells. Most breast biopsies show that the tissue is not cancerous.

Most breast biopsy procedures result in slight discomfort but are not overly painful. During most biopsies, an injection is given to numb the area. For a surgical biopsy, both sedation and a local anesthetic are given.


Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about your breast cancer treatment and reconstructive options, or to get a second opinion, schedule a consultation with an Einstein breast cancer specialist.

Find a Specialist


Training & Education

At Einstein, we have clinical expertise in caring for cancer and are actively invested in resident education.

Clinical Trials & Annual Reports

As part of two of the largest clinical research groups in the country, Einstein offers some of the most cutting-edge and experimental cancer therapies available anywhere. Read this years Cancer Care Program Annual Report here.

Accreditation & Partnerships




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