Providence Cancer Institute Orange County
Providence Cancer Institute Orange County
Where bright minds and big hearts come together
At Providence, we see more than a patient with a breast cancer diagnosis, we see the life you’re fighting for — and we have for nearly 100 years. That’s how long we’ve been providing world-class cancer care in Orange County. Today, we’ve strengthened our commitment to you by integrating three nationally accredited cancer programs — Mission, St. Joseph and St. Jude.
Recognized and accredited for the best cancer care and treatment options available.
Expanded access to the brightest cancer experts across multiple cancer specialties in Orange County.
Cancer navigators who provide individual support, compassionate care and coordination every step of your cancer journey.
Access to the most advanced technology and treatment options, including research, precision medicine, genetic counseling and clinical trials.
Every woman is at risk for breast cancer. One in eight will develop the disease, and 85% of those who are diagnosed have no family history of breast cancer. This is why Providence encourages every woman to talk to her doctor, beginning at age 40, about when to start breast cancer screening through regular mammograms.
Early detection is the best defense against breast cancer. When breast cancer is found early, before it has spread beyond the breast, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100%.
Regular screening can help detect breast cancer before you might notice any symptoms. Providence offers these lifesaving screenings in multiple locations throughout Southern California. Using the advanced imaging and diagnostic technologies listed below, Providence’s dedicated breast radiologists are able to discover small cancers in their earliest, most treatable stages. Throughout your screening visit, our emphasis is on your comfort, privacy and dignity.
Providence provides expertise in treating all types of breast cancer, including rare forms.
- Ductal cancers start in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple.
- Lobular cancers start in the glands, or “lobules,” that produce milk.
- In situ indicates abnormal or cancerous cells that have not spread beyond the duct or gland.
- Infiltrating or invasive cancers have spread into surrounding breast tissue.
- Metastatic cancers have spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body.
Providence provides expertise in treating all types of breast cancer, including rare forms. The cancers we treat include, but are not limited to:
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC): This is the most common type, making up 70-80% of all breast cancers. It begins in the lining of the milk ducts and then grows through the ducts into the nearby breast tissue. If not treated, it can spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): This is a non- or pre-invasive cancer that is still confined to the milk ducts, but that may become invasive.
- Infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC): Another common form of breast cancer, this type begins in the lining of the milk-producing glands and grows into the breast tissue. Without treatment, it can spread outside the breast.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): These abnormal cells, confined to the milk glands, are not technically considered cancer and don’t typically become invasive. However, they do increase the risk of developing cancer in either breast in the future.
- Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC): In this rare and very aggressive disease, cancer cells block the lymph vessels of the breast skin, causing inflammation, swelling, redness and thickening of the skin. This fast-spreading cancer can metastasize without quick treatment. About 1-5% of breast cancers are inflammatory.
- Metastatic breast cancer (MBC): While breast cancers that have spread to other parts of the body can’t be cured, there are many treatments that can help keep them under control for years.
As a leading health organization spanning six states, Providence leverages a vast network of expertise and the most advanced therapies available to treat breast cancer. And as a caring community throughout Southern California, we provide that care in trusted Orange County hospitals, where your comfort and humanity are always respected. All three of our Orange County hospitals have been accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and St. Jude and Mission have been recognized by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancer.
Your personalized treatment plan will depend on factors that are unique to you, from your specific diagnosis to your personal health and preferences. But one thing that most patients can count on is that it will take a team. And that’s where Providence shines.
Your team may include multiple experts who specialize in very specific aspects of treatment, as well as nurses, dietitians, counselors and others, all collaborating on your care. Collaboration is key, and they do it well. One way is through regular case review meetings, where members of your team, as well as Providence experts from outside your team, gather to review patient cases and to share clinical opinions, recommend treatments or symptom-management strategies, suggest opportunities for clinical trials and optimize care coordination.
If this starts to feel overwhelming, rest assured — we’ve got you. To help guide you through the whole process, we team you up with one person — a breast cancer navigator. Your navigator will sit with you through consultations, if you like, and can help schedule appointments, answer your questions, refer you to helpful support services, provide emotional support and much more to help ease the stress of cancer treatment. As one navigator put it, “You’ve got me for the duration.”
From the latest targeted therapies to the most innovative approaches emerging through clinical trials, Providence leverages the full power of today’s most advanced, evidence-based therapies to treat breast cancer. Your personalized treatment plan may include any or all of the following:
The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chances of successful treatment. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to any changes in your breasts that could be signs of breast cancer. Understanding what is normal for your breasts, and what isn’t, can be lifesaving.
In the very earliest stages, breast cancer has no outward symptoms. Sometimes the earliest sign is a tiny lump, or mass, that’s detectable only on a mammogram. As the disease progresses, however, more noticeable changes might appear. These can vary widely — while a lump is the most common symptom, it is by no means the only one. Any of the following changes could be a warning sign of breast cancer. These symptoms may be signs of breast cancer in men as well as women:
- A lump in the breast or armpit area
- Thickening or redness of the breast skin
- Swelling in all or part of the breast
- A breast that feels warm or itchy
- Dimpling, puckering, irritation or scaliness of the breast skin or nipple
- Pain or tenderness in the breast or nipple
- A nipple that turns inward, flattens out, pulls to one side or changes direction
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk
If you notice a potential symptom of breast cancer, or if you’re concerned about any changes in the way one of your breasts looks or feels, please call your primary care provider or breast care specialist. While these symptoms don’t always indicate cancer — sometimes they are signs of something less serious, such as a cyst or an infection — it’s important to have a Providence physician evaluate them right away. Don’t wait to see if they go away on their own. It bears repeating: treating breast cancer successfully is much easier when it’s caught and treated early.
A breast cancer diagnosis can have ripple effects that extend beyond your physical health. Both the diagnosis and the treatment process can wear on you emotionally, financially and personally. At Providence, we treat the whole person, not just the cancer. Throughout your care, you’ll have access to a wide variety of helpful and supportive services, such as these:
- Cancer navigators
- Social work services
- Financial counseling
- Support groups and wellness groups
- Appearance centers (for prostheses, wigs, specialized clothing, cosmetics)
- Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation
- Nutrition services
- Home health care
- Palliative care
Breast cancer risk assessment is very important for identifying women who may benefit from more intensive breast cancer surveillance. Utilizing advanced conversational AI technology called a CARE chatbot, we screen every patient undergoing mammography.
We screen every patient undergoing a screening or diagnostic mammogram for breast cancer risk. A Tyrer-Cuzick (TC) lifetime risk of developing breast cancer score is calculated and updated annually. Women with calculated lifetime risk of 20% or higher are recommended to consider screening with annual breast MRI in addition to annual mammography, which can provide the highest sensitivity in detecting breast cancer.
We screen every patient undergoing a screening or diagnostic mammogram for inherited risk to identify individuals who meet criteria for cancer genetic risk assessment due to personal and family history of cancer. Patients who meet National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Genetic/Familial Risk criteria are given additional information and are contacted by our genetics program for appropriate follow up.
Genetic counseling and testing are available for all hereditary cancer syndromes and familial patterns of cancer. To deliver precision medicine, our genetic counselors combine genetic test results, personal factors, family history, and counseling to generate a personalized genetic risk assessment with estimates of future cancer risks for both individuals and family members. The process of genetic counseling creates risk estimates of increased accuracy as well as improved patient and physician understanding, which leads to individualized medical management, empowered cancer prevention, and appropriate risk reduction strategies.
We offer multiple service options to meet individual needs for genetic testing including:
- In-person appointments, telehealth appointments, mammography and walk-in clinics.
- Full-service genetic counseling for comprehensive pre-test and post-test engagement.
- Walk-in genetics clinics with rapid sample collection for convenient genetic testing that includes expert coordination and oversight by a licensed board-certified genetic counselor.
- Post-test genetic counseling for individuals who have had previous genetic testing and would like an updated or expert interpretation of their results, would like to consider having updated or additional testing, or would benefit from having a formal comprehensive risk assessment.