We know that finding a lump in your breast can be frightening. However, most lumps are not cancerous and may not require treatment. Even if you receive a cancer diagnosis, breast cancer is very treatable. Our survival rate for breast cancer caught at the earliest stages is more than 90 percent.
At the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVM Medical Center), our advanced and comprehensive Breast Care Center has all the specialist doctors, medical staff, imaging technologies and treatment facilities you need in the one convenient location. Our warm and comforting center, with friendly staff and decorated with paintings by local artists, is an oasis where you will feel welcome and secure.
Our dedicated and compassionate staff will be with you every step of the way, from diagnosis through treatment and recovery.
Breast Care: The UVM Medical Center Difference
We have the most comprehensive and sophisticated breast disease center in our region. Our advantages include:
- Patient-centered approach: Our specialists across a variety of medical fields work together to coordinate your treatment with you. You are the most important person on your treatment team, and we are here to support you. We do our best to arrange appointments around your schedule. Whenever possible, if you need to see more than one provider, you will remain in one examination room while our providers will come to you for the consultation.
- Advanced training: Our board-certified oncologists, nurse practitioners and certified oncology nurses have all received advanced training in cancer treatment. We focus exclusively on breast disease. We will provide the most effective and up-to-date treatments for you.
- Access to innovative treatments and clinical trials: As an academic institution, we emphasize research as an important part of our mission. Our doctors not only treat patients but also participate in national and international research and clinical trials. We may be able to enroll you in clinical trials of new treatments that may be a better match for you.
- Compassionate and personalized care: We treat patients and their family as if they were members of our own family. We will support you on every step of the way through diagnosis and treatment.
Breast Conditions We Treat
We treat all malignant (cancerous) and benign (noncancerous) breast disease, including:
- Fibroadenomas (painless round lumps)
- Atypical epithelial hyperplasia (unusual cells in the breast that could become cancerous if not removed)
- Breast infections (mastitis)
- Fibrocysctic disease (changes within the breast that feel lumpy)
- Intraductal papillomas (growths inside milk ducts)
- Nipple discharge
- Inflamed blood vessels
Breast Cancer Screenings and Tests
Breast cancer is very treatable when caught early. We offer breast cancer screenings and teach women how to examine their own breasts. Our services include:
- Screening mammograms: Regular mammograms can detect cancer in the early stages.
- Self-examinations: We teach women how to examine their breasts for lumps and other early signs of cancer.
- High-risk groups: For women at high risk of breast cancer because of a family history or because of a known mutation, we offer more frequent mammograms, physical exams and additional breast imaging.
Breast Care Treatments We Offer
Our oncology and breast specialists combine advanced medical techniques with the latest technologies to provide you with the best treatments for your needs, including:
- Surgical oncology: Our surgeons remove cancerous and noncancerous lumps while preserving as much healthy breast tissue as possible.
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery: A plastic surgeon may do reconstructive surgery and/or breast reduction surgery at the same time an oncology surgeon is removing a lump. This maintains the aesthetic appearance of your breasts after the removal of a breast lump.
- Radiation therapy: Our radiation oncologists use the latest radiation equipment to direct bursts of radiation directly into tumors and cancerous cells while avoiding damage to healthy tissue.
- Chemotherapy: Our medical oncologists use powerful drugs to target cancer cells. Typically we give these in measured doses over time. Because healthy cells recover more quickly than cancerous cells, the time between doses allows your body to recover but doesn't give the malignant cells enough time to repair the damage.
Are You at High Risk for Breast Cancer?
If you feel that you meet one of these criteria, then we encourage you to reach out to your doctor who can complete a referral to the Breast Care Center.
- You have a known genetic predisposition
- You have a first degree relative with known genetic predisposition
- You have 2 individuals with breast cancer primaries on the same side of family with at least one diagnosed <50
- Any family history of male breast cancer in 1st or 2nd degree relatives
- You have 2 or more first degree relatives with breast cancer or ovarian cancer
- You have 1 first degree relative and 2 or more second degree relatives with breast cancer
- You have 1 first degree relative with bilateral breast cancer
- You have 3 or more second degree relatives with breast cancer
- You have 2 second degree relatives with breast cancer and 1 or more with ovarian cancer
- You have a second degree relative with breast cancer and 2 or more with ovarian cancer
- Prior thoracic radiation therapy (example: mantle radiation) between the ages of 10 and 30 years of age
- Personal history of ALH, ADH and/or LCIS within the last 5 years
Please note these criteria are based on the most recent National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines.
Additionally, we understand the confusion around the newer recommendation for dense breast tissue. As you know, around 40-50% of women have dense breasts, a normal condition in which breasts have less fat than they do glandular or connective tissue which can make mammograms at times more difficult to interpret.
In 2017 Vermont mandated that all women be informed of their breast density. If it is determined that an individual has dense breast tissue there can be a consideration to supplement the mammogram with a high risk screening ultrasound on an annual basis. This recommendation does not fall under the USPSTF guidelines and therefore may incur co-payments or lack of payment in total. We encourage referring providers to order additional imaging for breast density at their own discretion. The Breast Imaging division of Radiology at UVM Medical Center (802-847-4162) would be happy to answer any questions you or your patient have about breast density. Their website is also below for more information. Learn more about breast density.
Support & Resources
Our team is committed to patient-centered and holistic care. We provide a wide range of support resources for you and your family. From diagnosis through treatment, we will identify and provide support for your emotional, psychological and social needs. Our support includes:
- Social workers: Our dedicated social workers are an integral part of your treatment and support team. They will help you get the services you need, including help with finances, transportation or babysitting.
- Counseling: We provide psychological counseling to help you and your family cope with the stress and anxiety of illness and treatment.
- Child life specialists: Our child life specialists are trained in helping children deal with stressful situations. Through play therapy and other techniques, our Child Life Program will help your young children understand your diagnosis and treatment and deal with their own anxieties about your situation.