Our Breast Cancer Program

Breast cancer care that puts you first. 

A breast cancer specialist discusses breast cancer symptoms and treatment with patient

We know a breast cancer diagnosis is a life changing event. It can be overwhelming, stress-inducing and frightening. That’s why we dedicate an entire team to see to your physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs during this time. We welcome all patients, regardless of gender or gender identity. 

What you need to know about breast cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women in the U.S. Men can get breast cancer, too. Healthcare providers don't yet know exactly what causes it. Once breast cancer forms, cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body (metastasize), making it life-threatening. The good news is that breast cancer is often found early, when it's small and before it has spread.

There are many types of breast cancer. These are the most common types:

  • Ductal carcinoma.  This is the most common type. It starts in the lining of the milk ducts. When breast cancer has not spread outside of the ducts, it's called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or intraductal carcinoma. This is the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer. Invasive ductal carcinoma is breast cancer that has spread beyond the walls of the breast ducts. It's the most common type of invasive breast cancer.
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma. This type starts in the milk-producing glands (lobules) and spreads outside the lobules.

Here are a few less common types that you may hear about:

  • Paget disease.  This is a very rare form of breast cancer that starts in the glands in the skin of the nipple. It grows slowly and occurs in only 1 nipple. Most people with Paget disease also have tumors in the same breast. This type causes symptoms that are like a skin infection, such as inflammation, redness, oozing, crusting, itching, and burning.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer. This is a rare form of invasive breast cancer. Often there is no lump or tumor. Instead, this cancer makes the skin of the breast look red and feel warm. The breast skin also looks thick and pitted, like an orange peel. It tends to be found in younger women and grows and spreads quickly.
  • Triple negative breast cancer.  This is a type of breast cancer that doesn’t have estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors. It also doesn’t have an excess of the HER2 protein on the cancer cell surfaces. This type of breast cancer is most often found in younger women and in African-American women. It tends to grow and spread faster than most other types of breast cancer. Because these cancer cells don't have hormone receptors or excess HER2, medicines that target these changes don't work. The most common kind is triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Breast cancer often causes no symptoms in its early stages, when it's very small and has not spread. People with early breast cancer usually don’t have pain or notice any breast changes caused by the cancer. This is why routine screening tests such as mammograms are important. They are often able to detect the disease in its early stages before symptoms occur.

As breast cancer grows, it can cause symptoms such as: 

  • A lump, thickening, or swelling in or near your breast or under your arm
  • A change in the size or shape of your breast
  • Nipple discharge that's often bloody and only in one breast
  • Nipple inversion, meaning the nipple pulls back into your breast
  • Nipple or breast pain, tenderness, or aching
  • A change in the look of the skin of your breast, areola, or nipple, such as becoming dimpled or puckered or turning red or purple
  • A change in the feel of the skin of your breast, areola, or nipple, such as turning itchy or scaly

Breast cancer experts

Legacy Cancer Institute, located in Portland, OR, ranks among the nation’s best breast cancer programs. We have a team of breast cancer specialists who work together to diagnose and develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Find the right provider and treatment close to home.

Find a breast cancer specialist

Our team features some of the region’s most recognized specialists. Give us a call to make an appointment or learn more about our care team.

Call 503-413-5525 (Oregon)

Call 360-487-1020 (Washington)

Why Legacy is the best for breast cancer care

Our breast cancer program ranks among the top 5% nationally. More than 600 women per year choose to come to Legacy Cancer Institute for their breast cancer treatment because our program gives you access to top specialists in the field of breast cancer care. Equally important, our teams deliver timely support every step of the way. 

  • Prompt diagnosis: Less than 24 hours from biopsy to diagnosis, on average
  • Rapid scheduling: First appointments with surgeons within 48 hours
  • Personalized treatment: Care built around your specific needs 
  • Exceptional outlooks: High five-year survival rate and several options for treatment and recovery

See how our numbers compare regionally and nationally.

Legacy Cancer Institute is accredited as an integrated network cancer program by the American College of surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). Learn more about our quality cancer care. 


Breast cancer treatment

After diagnosis, the next step is to determine if, and how far, the disease has spread. There are several tools doctors use to accurately determine the appropriate course of treatment for you. Learn about additional diagnostic tests

Next, we create a personalized treatment plan for you based on the type and extent of the cancer, addressing your goals, symptom management and quality of life. Learn more about specific treatments.

More support

You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs.

Nurse navigators
Legacy Cancer Healing Center 
Support groups and classes
Cancer rehabilitation 
Survivorship services