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Breast Cancer Detection and Diagnosis

Finding Your Breast Cancer

Effective breast care begins with screening and early detection. At the University of Chicago Medicine, our board-certified radiologists provide the full range of image interpretation and image-guided procedures to uncover signs of disease, including:

  • Traditional digital mammography, breast ultrasound and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Advanced imaging such as breast tomosynthesis (also known as 3D mammography, which takes multiple images of the breast) and automated whole breast ultrasound, which decrease the chances a woman needs to come back after her screening test for more evaluation

More Options for Women with Dense Breast Tissue
Approximately 40 percent of women have dense breast tissue, which can obscure small tumors, making them difficult to detect with mammography. At the University of Chicago Medicine, we offer whole breast ultrasound, a screening technique that can be used in addition to mammography to examine dense breast tissue. Our highly experienced radiologists are experts in determining when whole breast ultrasound or other screening tests may be necessary. It's our policy to inform women if they have dense breasts on a mammogram so that we can recommend a tailored breast-screening plan. » ABC7 Chicago News featured UChicago Medicine experts in a report about how breast density affects cancer detection.

Much of our radiologists' work is integrated with colleagues throughout the Breast Center.  This includes performing procedures to better identify the precise location of the cancer for patients who will have surgery; using MRI to monitor patients undergoing chemotherapy before surgery (called neoadjuvant chemotherapy); and performing screening for patients who have a strong family history of breast cancer or a genetic predisposition to cancer.

Understanding Your Breast Cancer

Understanding the biological makeup of breast cancer is an important first step to beating this disease, which is why our breast cancer program includes board-certified pathologists who focus their practice in breast cancer.

At the University of Chicago Medicine, our breast pathology service is comprised of experienced pathologists who fellowship-trained at leading teaching institutions and focus their practice solely on benign and malignant breast diseases. Dedicated pathology assistants ensure specimens are prepared effectively for fast and accurate pathology results. These results play a key role in informing treatment planning.

Beyond the initial pathology results, our pathologists provide crucial insight and expertise in the multidisciplinary treatment of breast cancer patients.

Cancer Risk Assessment and Prevention

The University of Chicago Medicine boasts one of the most comprehensive programs for genetic counseling and testing for cancer risk. Our oncologists work in tandem with board-certified genetic counselors to help patients understand the risks and benefits associated with genetic testing; guide them through appropriate screening and prevention options; and provide more information for their family and their care.

At the University of Chicago Medicine, we believe patients should be informed and have an active role in their treatment and management of breast cancer risk. »Learn more about our services for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer risk and prevention.