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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women; however, it can also occur in men. About one in eight women will find out she has breast cancer at some point in her life, but due to better awareness, early detection and advanced treatments, most women survive this disease. There are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

With breast cancer, the cancer begins in the tissues that make up the breasts. The cancer cells may form a mass called a tumor. They may also invade nearby tissue and spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body (metastasis).

Breast cancer occurs in two groups:

  • Noninvasive. Cancerous cells stay in a particular location of the breast, without spreading to surrounding tissue or ducts.
  • Invasive. Cancerous cells spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymph nodes.

The most common forms of breast cancer begin in the milk-producing sacks (lobules) and the ducts that channel milk to the nipple. When these cancers are found early, treatment can keep the cancer cells from spreading to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

Not all breast lumps are cancerous. In fact, most breast lumps are not cancer at all. It is common for a woman to develop benign (non-cancerous) growths in her breasts, which are often caused by cysts (fluid-filled sacks) or fibrous tissue. Fibrous changes in the breast can give it a lumpy feel or appearance and may be more noticeable and painful just before a woman’s period (menstruation). Although some benign growths can become large and may need to be removed, non-cancerous growths do not travel to other parts of the body. 

At Indiana University Health, we are with you every step of the way fighting your breast cancer with patient- and family-centered care. We are known as a leader in the prevention, early detection and advanced treatment of breast cancer.


We encourage healthy lifestyles that reduce your risk of cancer and offer the latest in early detection technology. IU Health provides education and genetic counseling to help you assess your risk for breast cancer. We can teach you how to identify the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer as well as make lifestyle changes may reduce your risk for cancer.


Finding breast cancer early gives you the best chance of beating it. We use advanced technology to detect the earliest signs of cancer growth. Genetic testing, breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and 3-D mammograms all assist us in identifying cancer early.


We focus on personalized care for the whole person. Our collaborative team of specialists uses innovative methods to combat the cancer, while providing comfort and support. This team, which includes surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, dietitians, psychologists, pharmacists, social workers and nurses, helps you maintain the best quality of life during and after treatment. We also have the skill and experience to treat very young patients and those with advanced and rare forms of breast cancer.

At IU Health, we bring promising research discoveries to you as quickly as possible through clinical trials of advanced new treatments.

How We Can Help

What to Expect

Breast Cancer

How We Can Help

Breast Cancer Treatment Information

Breast cancer detection continues to advance. New technologies allow us to find breast cancer in its earliest stages and to locate cancer that may have spread to other areas of the body. IU Health offers a range of services within the health system, including:

Each person has special treatment needs that require a unique combination of techniques and medications, plus support services to help maintain quality of life.

We use surgical and nonsurgical procedures to treat the cancer. In all cases, we are highly sensitive to the need to preserve the shape of the breast as much as possible. Your treatment may include:

Breast Cancer Locations & Physicians

Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area. 

Find a Specialist

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Breast Cancer Support Services

Learning about breast cancer may help you prevent it, find it early or find the right treatment. Use these resources to learn more about what you can do to help yourself or someone you love who has breast cancer or has a high risk for breast cancer.