A breast cancer diagnosis is the start of a long journey that requires a lot of important decisions.
- Who will be in charge of your breast cancer care?
- What is the best breast cancer hospital?
- How will you know which breast cancer treatment is right for you?
Your Duke breast cancer doctors are your partners. We help you understand your options for breast cancer screening and treatment, so you can make important decisions about your care.
Duke cancer centers are located throughout Cary, Raleigh, Durham, and beyond. Imaging, testing, and breast cancer treatments are available at our centers.
Understand Your Breast Cancer Risk
Regular mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer at the earliest possible stage. We offer mammogram screening at multiple locations throughout Durham and Wake counties. Same-day appointments are often available, and you’ll get same-day test results during our Saturday screening clinics.
Breast Cancer Risk Assessment
Which breast cancer screenings you should have and when you should have them depends on your risk level. Learn how a breast cancer risk assessment can help you determine your risk and your screening plan.
Genetic Screening and Counseling
If you are at risk for inherited breast cancer, our genetic counselors may recommend screening for BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 gene mutations -- the most common causes of hereditary breast cancer -- and will help you interpret your results. With these facts, they can discuss options for keeping you and your family healthy.
A Team of Breast Cancer Specialists
When breast cancer is suspected, your first appointment will be with a medical oncologist or surgical oncologist who will bring together a team of breast cancer doctors to take part in your care. Your breast cancer team may include:
Most breast cancer treatment starts with some type of surgical procedure. Your breast cancer surgeon will evaluate the type and stage of your breast cancer, and recommend the procedure that's right for you.
Chemotherapy, immunotherapies, and targeted treatments are overseen by a medical oncologist if they are part of your breast cancer care.
Targeted and shortened courses of radiation therapy may be used to shrink tumors before or after surgery. Duke radiation oncologists also teach techniques like breath-holding and prone breast positioning to minimize radiation exposure to your normal, healthy tissues, including your heart.
Convenient Appointments With Your Breast Cancer Specialists
Appointments are conveniently scheduled at the Duke cancer center you visit. If you desire and are eligible for breast reconstruction, you may meet with a plastic surgeon who can help you understand your options and recommend the most appropriate procedure. We do our best to reduce unnecessary stress and anxiety and ensure that you have the information you need to make decisions about your care.
Coordinated Breast Cancer Treatment Close to Home
If you seek care at Duke and continue with radiation or chemotherapy closer to home, our doctors will coordinate your treatment plan with your doctors. We also provide second opinions and share information with doctors near you.
Choosing a Breast Cancer Center
Larger hospitals have more breast cancer specialists who have more experience treating different types of breast cancer, including rare forms of breast cancer. Breast cancer centers that are part of larger hospitals can also offer more services to women and men with breast cancer. Consider these factors when deciding where to receive your breast cancer care.
Comprehensive, High-Quality Breast Cancer Care
As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we offer a level of expertise found only in the top cancer centers across the country. The skills and experience of our breast cancer specialists come from working with people with breast cancer every day.
Clinical Trials Access
You may be eligible to participate in our breast cancer clinical trials, which can provide access to new therapies before they are approved. Duke doctors are investigating new ways to approach breast tumors, how exercise impacts treatment and survival, and how to improve the quality of our patients’ lives. They are also using new vaccines to treat different types of breast cancer, including early-stage breast cancer and HER2-positive breast cancer.
Highly Specialized Breast Cancer Clinics
We offer clinics devoted to specific types of breast cancer, different age groups, and unique health care needs, including sexual health and fertility issues for women in their childbearing years.
When Breast Cancer Spreads to Brain or Bone
New treatments are making it possible for people to live longer, with a better quality of life, when cancer has spread to the brain, spine, or bones. Duke experts in the medical and surgical management of metastatic brain and spine tumors and bone metastasis use these advanced therapies to relieve pain and extend life for people who may have been told they are out of options.
Comprehensive Support Services
Our cancer support services help minimize the side effects of treatment and help you cope with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. Our breast cancer survivorship clinic offers resources to help survivors after treatment ends. View all of our breast cancer support groups in our event calendar.
Nationally Recognized Breast Cancer Doctors
Our breast cancer specialists are included in Time magazine's annual lists of the most influential people because of their contributions to new breast cancer treatment approaches. Duke breast cancer specialists were involved in the research and development that led to the recent FDA approval of two breast cancer drugs.
- Ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) has been referred to as a "smart bomb" because it targets the tumor, lacks significant side effects, and offers patients a better quality of life.
- Lapatinib (Tykerb), also developed by Duke doctors and researchers, treats HER2-positive breast cancer by targeting and blocking the signals that breast tumors need to grow. It’s an added option for women whose breast cancer has stopped responding to other treatments.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2020–2021.