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Diagnosing Breast Cancer

Given the advent of modern technology, breast cancer is no longer the scary diagnosis it once was. When caught early, many types of breast cancer have more than a 90% survival rate. At KishHealth System, you’ll find a dedicated and experienced team of oncologists and surgeons, as well as other women’s health professionals, who will provide you with the education, support, and treatment you need.

Our radiologists and surgeons offer extensive technology and vast expertise in breast diagnostics, including:

  • Mammography: performed on state-of-the-art digital equipment. Digitally enhanced breast images have outstanding clarity and contrast, leading to a quick diagnosis and better quality of care.
  • Breast ultrasound: a quick and painless procedure that utilizes sound waves to determine the relative density of sections of breast tissue.
  • Breast biopsy: If your physical exam, mammogram, or ultrasound reveal a suspicious area, your physician may recommend a biopsy. There are three types—mammogram-guided biopsy, ultrasound-guided biopsy, and excisional biopsy. 

Breast Cancer Treatment

Oncologists on staff at KishHealth System Cancer Centers, which serve DeKalb, Ogle and Kendall counties, have many years of experience in treating breast cancer and are very knowledgeable about the most up to date protocols. A breast cancer nurse patient navigator and multidisciplinary specialists work closely with you to formulate a treatment plan. Genetic testing also is available.

Follow-up after a breast cancer treatment is usually done either with your oncologist or the surgeon. In the first year, you will have frequent breast exams, generally every three months. At one year, other tests may be ordered, such as a chest x-ray, blood work, and/or a CAT scan, as determined by your physician. Continued close monitoring using mammograms is also necessary.

Other Common Breast Concerns

Painful breasts—called “mastodynia.” Mastodynia frequently occurs around the menstrual cycle and is related to hormonal fluctuation. Decreasing caffeine intake, wearing a good support bra, and taking vitamin supplements can help you find relief. Mastodynia is rarely a sign of cancer since only 3% of all breast cancer present as pain. However, call KishHealth System to schedule an evaluation if you notice a lump with pain.

Cysts—occurs in the breast when the ducts enlarge and fill with fluid. Cysts are common in younger women and are NOT a true disease, but rather a change. Cysts are not harmful, but occasionally can cause pain. However, they can present in a similar fashion to a malignancy. If you notice a prominent lump, have it evaluated by your physician. The diagnosis would include either a mammogram or an ultrasound.

Lumps—breast texture is often lumpy for no concerning reason. Most breast lumps are benign or non-cancerous. However, there is still a 20% risk of a breast lump being malignant, so if you discover one, schedule an evaluation with your physician immediately.

Breast Nipple Discharge—usually represents a benign finding, but also can be related to tumors of the pituitary or side effects of medication. The usual types of discharge are white, green, brown, and sometimes red. Although most of these are benign, your physician should immediately evaluate any nipple discharge. 

Contact Us

To schedule a mammogram, please call: 

Kishwaukee Hospital - 815.748.2975
Valley West Hospital - 815.786.3794


Before you call to schedule an appointment, your doctor’s office should fax your order for diagnostic tests to 815.748.8935. Appointments are available weekdays, evenings and Saturdays. 

To request copies of your images and reports, please call the individual hospital Medical Records Department

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