Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Breast Tumors Treatment?
The well-trained medical professionals at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital can provide a wide variety of treatment options for breast tumors, depending on the type and particularities of the condition. If you have been diagnosed with a benign tumor, our specialists can offer you regular and careful monitoring. If you have been diagnosed with a malignant tumor, our highly skilled surgeons and oncologists will do all in their power to ensure the most positive outcome. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are only a few of the treatments for malignant breast tumors available at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.
A tumor is an abnormal cell growth that forms a mass. A breast tumor occurs when such a mass is detected in the breast in the form of a breast lump. Breast tumors can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Although most are non-cancerous, patients who suspect a breast lump should seek a doctor's advice immediately.
The breast of a mature woman contains fat, connective tissue, and small lobules that produce milk (glandular tissue). During breastfeeding, the milk passes through small ducts from the lobules to the nipple. These glandular tissues or ducts can be the starting point of a tumor.
Benign tumors rarely need removal. If their growth is aggressive in the surrounding tissues, surgical removal may be required. Tumor severity and aggressiveness are most often assessed through biopsy.
The treatment of malignant tumors is based on the evaluation of their type, stage, grade, and sensitivity to hormones. A patient's overall health and personal situation are also taken into account.
Hormone Therapy »
Palliative Therapy »
There are two types of tumors and many conditions that fall under these types.
Malignant Tumors »
Benign Tumors »
- A lump or thickened tissue in the breast
- Redness or deformation of the breast skin (e.g. orange skin)
- Redness or deformation of the nipple (or inverted nipple), discharge of the nipple (sometimes containing blood)
- Change in the size and/or the shape of the breast
- Pain in breast or armpit (not related to the menstrual cycle)
- A lump in the armpit
- Peeling or scaling of the skin of the nipple or breast
If at any time you find such symptoms—especially a lump in the breast—you should consult your doctor immediately, even if a recent mammogram came back normal. In order to detect any change, you should be familiar with your breasts and examine them regularly.
For patients over 50 years of age, periodic screenings, X-rays, and mammograms are mandatory.
Examination Performed by a Doctor
- Inspection and palpation of breasts should be performed to identify any lumps or other modifications. Ask for a member of the family, or a member of the medical staff to be present during these procedures.
- The doctor will ask questions like:
- When you first noticed any symptoms
- If close family members have also had breast cancer
- What medication you take
- Mammogram: An X-ray investigation of the breast. First, a screening mammogram is performed. In a case where something is detected or appears suspicious, a diagnostic mammogram is also recommended.
- Breast ultrasound: Facilitates imaging of the inner part of organs by use of ultrasound. It is also used as a complementary screening test in patients with dense tissue.
- Biopsy: A sample of cells from the breast is removed with a needle under local anesthesia and taken to a laboratory for testing. Biopsies are diagnostic tests used to evaluate the type of cells, the grade of cancer, and the existence of receptors, which could influence the treatment plan.
- Breast MRI: This test uses radio and magnetic waves to image the inner structures of the breast.
About Grades and Stages
The grades system is used to classify malignant tumors by severity of the mutation, or the deviation from normal cells. Grades also indicate the likelihood of a tumor spreading. They are useful for choosing the treatment approach. The severity of the tumor starts from a low grade and can move from intermediate grade to high grade, which represents an aggressive tumor.
Stages show the progress of the disease. They are useful for planning treatment, much like the grades. The stages are based on the following factors:
Other Tests Used for Staging
- Blood tests
- Bone scan
- PET scan, positron emission tomography (nuclear medicine imaging, which produces 3-D color images)
Cause of Benign Tumors
The exact cause of benign tumors is not known, but hormones are most likely involved in their occurrence. Breast abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection.
Cause of Malignant Tumors
Damaged DNA is the cause of cancer development, but the cause of DNA damage is not known.
Malignant breast tumor risk factors:
- Female gender
- Over 55 years of age
- Family history (if a close relative had cancer before 50 years of age, the risk increases)
- Personal health history (cancer of the same or the other breast increases the risk of developing breast cancer)
- Menstrual and reproductive personal history (early first menstruation, late menopause, late first childbirth, or no childbirth at all increase the risk)
- Mutations of gene BRCA1 and BRCA2 (genetic tests are recommended for at-risk patients)
- Dense breast tissue
Risk factors that can be avoided:
Breast cancer may develop in patients who exhibit no risk factors. People who do exhibit risk factors may also never develop breast cancer.
The efficacy and safety of alternative therapies for breast tumors are unknown. Their usage as a primary treatment method is not recommended.
Alternative treatments for the relief of treatment side effects, like serious fatigue, include:
The best way to help prevent breast tumors is to undergo regular breast exams, mammograms, and clinical examinations. Talk to your doctor about when to start periodical screenings.
Other preventive steps for average-risk patients include:
For high-risk patients:
- Taking preventive medication
- Undergoing preventive surgery, like prophylactic mastectomy (removal of healthy breasts) or prophylactic oophorectomy (preventive removal of ovaries), especially in case of specific gene mutations presence.