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Caring for Breast Cancer on the Central Coast

Do you know your risk for breast cancer? Find out by answering a few quick questions.

A breast cancer diagnosis can turn your world upside down and every year around 230,000 women receive that diagnosis.

Breast cancer happens when cells grow without stopping and invade other tissues. Regular mammograms can detect cancer even before any symptoms appear, in the earliest stages. When cancer is detected early, the chances for successful treatment improve.

Your medical team at Dignity Health are with you every step of the way, offering the latest imaging technology for screening and diagnostics. Our expert physicians provide leading-edge options for breast and other cancer treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Change in size, shape, or appearance of your breast or nipple
  • A lump in the breast 
  • Inverted nipple
  • Nipple tenderness or discharge (not breast milk)
  • Skin changes or rash on your breast or nipple
  • Swelling of part or all of your breast

Any changes should be reported to a health care provider right away.


A mammogram can help identify breast cancer signs and symptoms early when treatment is most effective. 


Most women should begin having annual mammograms between ages 40 and 45. If you have an increased risk for breast cancer, your doctor may recommend a mammogram before the age of 40. 


A mammogram is a simple procedure with no recovery time. You can go back to your day immediately after the test.

Risk Factors

While anyone can get it, breast cancer is most common among women. Risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure
  • Early menstruation
  • Family history
  • Previous radiation therapy to the chest

Other risk factors include obesity, the use of birth control, lack of physical activity, smoking, alcohol, a poor diet, and the use of combined Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).


The treatment for breast cancer depends on the type and stage of the disease, standard options include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation, surgery, and targeted immunotherapy.  

There are multiple kinds of breast cancer, each with its own signs, symptoms, and treatment options. 

Some of the most common breast cancers include:

  • Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer. It starts in the milk ducts and spreads to the surrounding tissue. 

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) happens in about one in five new cases. It only affects the cells lining the milk ducts. DCIS is an early, very treatable state of breast cancer. 

  • Invasive lobular carcinoma makes up about 1 in 10 cases of breast cancer. It starts in the milk-producing glands and spreads through the other tissues.  

Less common types of breast cancer include inflammatory breast cancer, Paget disease of the nipple, Phyllodes tumor, angiosarcoma, and breast cancer during pregnancy.

Our team of oncologists deliver the latest treatments for both invasive and non-invasive breast cancer, including hormone receptor-negative and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. 

Find a Doctor

Discuss your risk for breast cancer with your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, we can help you find one that’s right for you. Click the button below or call (805) 270-2513.