At the Lynn Cancer Institute, we personalize breast cancer treatment based on your specific cancer and your needs and personal preferences. Factors we consider include:

  • The type and stage of your cancer
  • Your age
  • Your cancer's location
  • Your overall health

Cancer specialists in radiology, surgery, breast reconstruction, medical oncology, radiation oncology, genetics, social work and other areas work together to discuss complex cases and plan the best course of action through our tumor board. Nurses and other cancer specialists, including patient navigators, will also be involved with your care. Our navigators help you set up appointments, get referrals, complete paperwork and connect with community resources. They also help manage your overall care, so you can focus on getting well.

Treatments you may receive include:


Surgery is usually part of most people’s treatment. It is done to remove your cancer and the surrounding tissue. Types of surgery include:

  • Lumpectomy — This type of surgery is also known as breast-conserving surgery. It involves removing your tumor and some tissue surrounding it. Often, you go home from the hospital on the day of your surgery.
  • Mastectomy — If your cancer has a high risk of returning, physicians may recommend a mastectomy (removal of your entire breast). If cancer is found in your chest muscles, your surgeon may remove some of that tissue, as well.

Breast reconstruction surgery

Breast reconstruction surgery rebuilds or reshapes your breast after a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Physicians may perform this surgery immediately after one of these operations or years later. However, it’s helpful to speak with your breast cancer surgeon and a plastic surgeon as soon as possible if you’re considering reconstruction.

There are several different types of reconstruction surgery. Our plastic and reconstructive surgeons have experience with all kinds of surgeries. And all types can produce good results that help you look and feel your best.

  • Fat grafting — Fat grafting, or fat injection, may help improve the appearance of the breast in areas where surgeons have removed tissue. It involves collecting fat from another area of your body with liposuction. Surgeons then inject the fat into areas that need reshaping.
  • Flap surgery — This surgery involves creating a new breast with tissue from another part of your body, such as your abdomen, hips or thighs. Surgeons may even create a new nipple if necessary.
  • Implant surgery — Implant surgery is usually a two-part process. First, surgeons place a tissue expander under your chest muscles. Next, they will inflate this balloon-like plastic sac with saline injections over several weeks. This process stretches your muscle and breast skin, creating room for a saline or silicone implant. Then surgeons place the implant during a second surgery after removing the tissue expander. Sometimes, an expander isn’t needed if surgeons place an implant immediately after a mastectomy. Today’s implants are safe and may last for decades.

Surgeons consider several factors when helping you decide which option is likely best for you. These factors include your:

  • Age
  • Body type
  • Breast size
  • Cancer location
  • Cancer stage
  • Lifestyle
  • Overall health
  • Personal preferences

Recovery from reconstruction surgery usually takes several weeks, but it may be a few months before you’re completely healed. If you have cancer in only one breast, you may also decide to have surgery on your other breast so both breasts have a similar appearance.

Whether to have reconstruction surgery is a personal choice. If you decide not to have it, you may wish to consider a breast prosthesis. Prostheses come in many sizes, shapes and materials. You can even get one custom-made for you. They may slip into a pocket in a specially designed bra or other clothing or secure in place with adhesives or magnets.

Systemic therapy

Systemic therapy uses medication to attack breast cancer wherever it might be in your body. We use this treatment to:

  • Keep cancer from recurring or spreading to other areas of your body after surgery. Cancer that spreads to other areas is known as metastatic breast cancer.
  • Shrink a tumor before surgery to make it easier to remove or lower the risk of it spreading.

Types of systemic therapy include:

  • Chemotherapy — Many drugs can interrupt the growth or spread of cancer cells. They work differently and require different dosing and administration.
  • Hormone therapy — Estrogen and other hormones help some breast cancers grow. But treatments such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors can block or decrease these hormones.
  • Targeted therapy — Targeted therapies are a newer type of treatment. In many cases, physicians are still studying them. They work by blocking specific genes or proteins that help tumors grow. As a result, they help destroy cancerous cells but spare healthy cells.

Physicians use tests to identify certain types of cancers that may benefit from systemic therapy. Although some systemic therapies can cause serious side effects, we have many ways to help manage them. We work with you to make the treatment as safe and comfortable as possible.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. Different types of radiation therapy may be best in different situations.

  • Brachytherapy — This treatment delivers radiation inside your breast. Physicians deliver a radioactive implant through a catheter or needle while you’re sedated. The implant may go in or near the tumor. Physicians may also place an implant where the tumor was located after surgery to prevent cancer from returning.
  • External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) — This treatment uses targeted X-ray beams to destroy cancer cells. Physicians can tailor the beams to your cancer’s size and location. Targeting the beams of radiation helps prevent damage to healthy tissue. EBRT is the type of radiation therapy most commonly used for breast cancer.
Clinical trials

Clinical trials

Clinical trials study new treatments. Often, these treatments aren’t widely available. But, in many cases, they offer hope for cancers that are difficult to treat with existing therapies. If a clinical trial may be appropriate for you, we’ll talk with you about the possible benefits and risks.

Schedule Your Mammogram

Take a positive step for your breast health and schedule a mammogram today.

Learn more about breast cancer screening and what sets us apart at the Schmidt Family Center for Breast Care.

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