Breast Cancers

St.Vincent Cancer Care - Mission in Motion

Physicians and staff explain how St. Vincent’s Cancer Care Outreach and Screening is fulfilled through our “Mission in Motion.” For more than 20 years, St. Vincent has been providing mobile screening services (including mammography) to women in corporate and community settings throughout Central Indiana. Digital mammograms are widely available at many St. Vincent hospital and outpatient locations.

St. Vincent Women's Health Navigators are available to get answers to your questions and make connections to mammography and other services, including scheduling a free Clinical Breast Exam.

Indianapolis Breast Services, Nabb Rd and 86th St,

Carmel Women’s Center
M-F, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Access to Early Detection

At St. Vincent – we aim to impart wisdom and wellness to women who may be at risk for breast cancer or any cancer. Our holistic approach to cancer care means we focus on the whole person, and provide comprehensive breast care services that screen for cancer in particular, diagnose, treat, support and educate women. Our goal is to help women of all ages attain a healthier body, mind and spirit.

Based on current breast cancer incidence rates, 12.4% of women born in the U.S. will  this cancer at some time during their lives.
- (most recent SEER Cancer Statistics Review)

When do you see a Breast Care Specialist?

If you get an abnormal result from a breast exam and mammography or are concerned about worrisome signs and symptoms such as warm or swollen breasts, puckering, dimpling, redness or scaling of the breast, nipple discharge (including blood) or a nipple that turns inwards, or lumps that feel hard in the breast or under the arm, talk to a
St. Vincent Breast Care Specialist (a board-certified breast surgeon). Our physicians specialize in Women's Health and are highly experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of the many types of diseases affecting the breast and lymph nodes.

When early stage breast cancer is detected before a tumor can be felt there is a 98% survival rate among women with these types of cancers.  
- American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2011–2012. Atlanta, GA. 2011. Accessed at

Take a good look at your health.

  • Do you do self-breast exams? Have you had a physical recently?
  • If you are age 40 or older, have you had a screening mammogram?
  • Do you have a family history of cancer?

Throughout both St. Vincent Women's Health and Breast Care Services we have designed prevention and wellness opportunities from easy access to mammography screening, to healthy cooking, yoga, and meditation classes to survivorship programs, including our Art Therapy program. To view a calendar of events click here.

St. Vincent Breast Care Services are recognized by the NQMBC (Certified Quality Breast Centers of Excellence) and the NAPBC®, a national accreditation program for Breast Care Centers. Both organizations recognize St. Vincent's ability to meet the highest standards of care and services. Our St. Vincent Breast Surgeons are known for their "attention to detail and compassionate spirit."  Each patient also has access to an extended cancer care team of medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, reconstructive plastic surgeons, nurses, genetic counselors, social workers, therapists and support staff.  Throughout your care plan and beyond, we work closely with you and your primary care physician and/or OB/GYN physician to ensure a continuity of care throughout the years.

Diagnosing all types of breast disease

At St. Vincent Breast Care Services, we realize that each woman has special needs and circumstances, and she wants options and opportunities that best fit her needs and that of her family. Our multidisciplinary cancer team approach is personalized for you.

"We don't rush our patients, we take all the time we need to understand each woman's family history and address all of her concerns and worries. The more confident the woman (and her support group) -- the better the opportunity to turn this disease on its heels."
-- Sarah Longmire-Cook, MD, Breast Care specialist and surgeon, Office of Schmidt and Longmire-Cook, Breast Care of Indianapolis, 8550 Nabb Rd, 86th St. campus.

If you have an "abnormal" mammogram result, our Imaging Navigators and Women's Health Navigators will help you make an appointment with a St. Vincent Breast Specialist. This appointment typically includes a Clinical Breast Exam and a full medical history and other potential tests may be needed such as 3D mammography (tomosynthesis), breast ultrasound, breast MRI, blood biomarker tests, or genetic profile tests. Most of the time, lumps are usually non-cancerous (benign) but the only way to be certain is to perform additional tests and possibly do a biopsy to remove cells from the suspicious area. The Pathologists affiliated with St. Vincent Cancer Care physicians are highly skilled in the analysis of biopsies, and the staging of all types of breast cancer.

At St. Vincent digital mammography is our breast screening tool. In coordination with highly skilled radiologists and breast surgeons, we offer other diagnostic imaging tests when more testing is needed, including 3-D mammography (also called tomosynthesis) which can detect significantly more invasive cancers. This is especially important for women with a higher-risk of developing any times of breast cancer. The 3D image (as shown above) is one slice (or views) of the breast tissue. 3D mammography provides hundreds of slices and views from various angles, providing even more detail for an in-depth analysis.

To learn more about digital mammography versus 3D mammography click here.

Breast Services in Indianapolis and Carmel

St. Vincent breast care services represent a blending of cancer care and women's health services concentrated in two areas: on the St. Vincent 86th St campus in Indianapolis and at the St. Vincent Carmel Hospital and Women's Center.

The Breast Care Center of Indianapolis (shown right) is located on the St. Vincent 86th St. campus at Naab Rd. This location includes Rehabilitative Services, radiology, diagnostic imaging including mammography, ultrasound, breast MRI and biopsy, Survivorship Programs (Support Groups, Art Therapy Studio, yoga, and meditation), as well as, physician offices. Medical oncology and radiation oncology services are provided at the Cancer Center on Harcourt Rd. and on the 6th Floor of St. Vincent Hospital.

The St. Vincent Carmel Hospital and Women's Health Center (shown right) is located at the 136th St. exit off US Hwy 31. The first floor includes the breast care center which includes digital mammography and 3D mammography (tomosynthesis), and related breast care services. Breast specialists and OB/GYN offices are also at this location. Women's health seminars, healthy cooking programs and the Women's Health Boutique with a full inventory of cancer care durable medical goods are available for women and men of all ages. 

Treating Breast Cancer

"Integrating proven yet targeted breast treatments with a holistic approach around the woman's needs makes a huge difference in outcomes and quality of life."
– Erica Giblin, MD, Comprehensive Breast Services, St. Vincent Carmel Hospital and Women's Center

There are many types of breast cancer. In Indiana our St. Vincent Breast Specialists primary treat IDC – Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (plus 5 subtypes of this disease); DCIS – Ductal Carcinoma in Situ; and ILC – Invasive Lobular Carcinoma; however, they have also treated rare, complex and metastatic cases including inflammatory breast cancer, male breast cancer and Paget's disease of the nipple. During the weekly breast cancer multi-disciplinary conferences, physicians and staff from all the cancer care departments work as a team to discuss challenging cases and identify optimum care plans, including the treatment of aggressive metastatic disease that spreads to other parts of the body.  

St. Vincent Cancer Care physicians have many options and opportunities for cancer patients and their loved ones. Many of today's innovative breast treatments include procedures that zero in on the tumor to help preserve breast tissue and use genetic assessments to gauge your risk and that of your family members. Predictive biomarker tests look for aggressive proteins associated with many types of breast cancer. Combination therapies (surgical, medication, and radiation) along with genetic counseling, supportive care, nutritional interventions, and rehabilitative services create holistic care – a St. Vincent cornerstone for caring for the body, mind and spirit.

St. Vincent breast surgeons also work closely with the St. Vincent Gynecology Oncology specialists because there is a link between some forms of breast cancer and ovarian cancer and uterine cancer.

It should be noted benign (non-cancerous) breast conditions (like simple cysts, fibrosis and granular cell tumors) are very common, more so than a breast cancer diagnosis. Don't second guess the signs and symptoms and delay, see a physician.

At St. Vincent, we also have a Women's Health Program with health services that go beyond breast care services and include cardiac risk clinic, pelvic health and therapy, migraine and pain management, digestive health, bone health, and fertility and pregnancy care.

Breast cancer treatments and options

At St. Vincent your breast surgeon, medical oncologist and possibly a radiation oncologist will be involved in all aspects of your care. Your cancer team works very hard to dispel the shock of a cancer diagnosis with compassion, understanding and good communication. A Breast Care Navigator is available to every woman through St. Vincent Cancer Care to help you navigate the journey to better health with support and education. These specially trained oncology nurses and social workers walk hand-in-hand with our patients throughout the treatment plan. No question is too small or insignificant. To talk to a St. Vincent Patient Navigator call 317-338-3900.

St. Vincent Comprehensive Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Surgical: Today, advanced surgical techniques accelerate the healing process and surgeons are able to better pinpoint the tumor with more breast conserving options. Having a breast cancer diagnosis does not immediately mean mastectomy (complete surgical removal of the breast). The local excision of the tumor, called lumpectomy, often includes a treatment regime of radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.  

Radioactive Seed Localization (RSL) is a new tumor-marking technique available at St. Vincent that places a tiny radioactive seed directly on the cancerous breast tumor. The RSL procedure can conveniently be done up to five days before surgery. The radioactive impact is many, many times less than going through an airport checkpoint and there is no concern about being around family and friends. Having RSL enables the breast surgeon on the day of surgery to hone in on the seed (no bigger than the tip of a pencil) and map the tumor and cancerous tissue margins with three-dimensional accuracy to identify the most direct path to the tumor. Studies have shown that the RSL technique is much more accurate than the wire technique and is very useful detecting tumors so small usually they cannot be felt by touch.
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) kills the cancer cells and shrinks tumors. The St. Vincent Radiation Oncology Center is at the Cancer Center on Harcourt Rd. We use both external beam radiation and internal brachytherapy for whole breast and partial breast irradiation. These treatments are designed to target the cancer cells and minimize damage to healthy tissue. SAVI and Mammosite are both available at the  St. Vincent Cancer Center.

Medication oncology includes chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy, that can be given orally or intravenously to reach cancer cells anywhere in the body. Hematologists/medical oncologists affiliated with St. Vincent Cancer Care are highly experienced in the planning and delivery of combination therapies. The nurses and social workers at the Infusion Centers embody St. Vincent's caring spirit and create an environment to promote healing.  

Genetic Assessment Counselors use the OncoType DX test to help breast specialists look at the activity of certain genes in the tumor tissue. Certified Genetic Counselors help patients and families better understand  the risk for developing breast cancer and other cancers based on BRAC 1 & 2 gene mutations. Approximately 5-10% of  women with a breast cancer diagnosis have a BRAC mutation.
Blood Marker Tests are simple blood tests used to detect cancer protein activity in the body and the presence of circulating tumor cells in the blood. Blood marker tests are both diagnostic and are used during treatment to assess if the cancer is responding the treatment or to check for recurrence.

Related breast care services such as psychological and nutritional counseling, rehabilitation services with lymphedema specialists, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, art and exercise therapy, and support group have positively impacted the survivorship of St. Vincent breast cancer patients.

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