Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis

The Breast Health Center at CDH and Delnor have both been named Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence by the American College of Radiology and also been recognized by the prestigious National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) through the American College of Surgeons. This accreditation is given to centers that undergo a rigorous evaluation process, and comply with stringent NAPBC standards for treating women diagnosed with a wide variety of breast disease. A breast center that achieves NAPBC accreditation has demonstrated a firm commitment to offering its patients every significant advantage in their battle against breast disease.

Our doctors use state-of-the-art technology to image and diagnose breast health, including:

  • Breast MRI and MRI-guided biopsies
  • Breast ultrasound and ultrasound guided biopsies
  • Diagnostic mammograms with computer-assisted diagnosis (CAD) and same-day results
  • Needle localizations
  • Stereotactic breast biopsies

3D Mammography

Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, 3D mammography is available at both CDH and Delnor. This screening option is recommended for women who have been identified as having dense breast tissue or who are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer. When used in conjunction with 2D digital mammography, research shows that 3D mammography can significantly improve the early detection of breast cancer in these groups of women.

Digital Mammography

Available in only 8% of healthcare facilities in the U.S., digital mammography generates computerized images of the breast instead of traditional film. This allows the technologist to review scans in real time to determine the image quality. The radiologist reading the images can manipulate, enhance and magnify areas of the breast for greater accuracy, even with dense breast tissue. The quality of digital images also means fewer repeat visits and less patient dose exposure.

Mammography services at Cadence Health are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR), and have earned 5-star ratings for patient satisfaction. The Breast Health Centers at both Central DuPage and Delnor hospitals have been designated Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence through the American College of Radiology (ACR). This status recognizes breast-imaging centers that have earned accreditation in all of the ACR's voluntary, breast-imaging accreditation programs, in addition to the mandatory Mammography Accreditation Program.

R2 Image Checker Computer Aided Detection (CAD) System

Acting as a second set of eyes for the radiologist in reviewing your mammogram, R2 Image Checker can potentially help to detect up to 20% more breast cancers at an earlier stage.


Your doctor may need to remove fluid or tissue from your breast to check for cancer cells under a microscope. You may receive local or general anesthesia for a biopsy such as:

  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy – no incision is necessary
  • Core needle biopsy – a needle is guided into a lump to remove a small cylinder of tissue without an incision
  • Surgical biopsy/open biopsy – a surgeon removes part or all of a lump through an incision into the breast
  • Sentinel node biopsy – using dye or radioactive material to determine if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes

At Cadence Health, your doctor has access to advanced instruments and technology to make needle and surgical biopsies less invasive and more productive.

Cadence Breast Health Program video
Watch a Video: Breast Health Program Breast cancer is a life changing diagnosis, but your world doesn’t have to stop. With a comprehensive breast health program offering care services from screening through survivorship, Cadence Health, now part of Northwestern Medicine, provides complete treatment close to home.

Breast Cancer Treatments

If you’ve received an abnormal result from your mammogram or have concerns about a family history of breast cancer, specialized care is close to home. The Cadence Health breast cancer team offers advanced technology coupled with compassionate care designed just for women. Our team includes medical and radiation oncologists as well as specialized breast cancer surgeons who have expertise in the treatment of breast cancer.

Breast cancer treatment will depend on your overall health, extent of the disease and your tolerance for various therapies.


Removal of as much of the cancer as possible is the primary treatment for breast cancer. There are several types of breast surgery. Talk to your specialized breast cancer surgeon about the best course of action, based on the size and location of your tumor, the stage of cancer and any potential involvement of lymph nodes. Whether it’s a non-surgical biopsy, treatment of an infection or an advanced surgical procedure, our board-certified surgeons work side-by-side with you to deliver the most compassionate and personalized care.

Radiation Therapy

Your doctor may recommend radiation therapy after surgery to help kill microscopic cancer cells that remain after surgery. External radiation therapy sends high levels of radiation directly to the tissues that may contain cancer cells. Most patients are able to complete breast radiation in three to four weeks.

  • Proton therapy – some stages of breast cancer may be better treated with proton therapy, which offers more precisely targeted radiation for less risk of damage to surrounding tissue.
  • Internal radiation – for early stage disease, internal radiation may be an option. This is called brachytherapy and uses a catheter inserted into the breast to allow a small radioactive seed to travel directly to the surgical area for a more focused form of radiation. This type of treatment allows the radiation dose to be given faster over a one-week period.


May be administered, either intravenously or orally, to interfere with the cancer cell’s ability to reproduce. Your experienced medical oncologist will determine the best combination of medications for your stage of cancer. If appropriate, the medical oncologists at Cadence Health may consult directly with the team at Cleveland Clinic to discuss your treatment options.

Hormone Therapy

Your doctor may test the tumor cells with a hormone receptor test to determine if the hormones in your body are causing your cancer cells to grow. If so, hormone therapy can help prevent the growth, spread and recurrence of breast cancer.

Palliative Medicine

Side effects from cancer treatment can impact your quality of life and your body’s ability to respond to treatment. Cadence Health is home to a diverse team of palliative medicine specialists who work with your oncologist to help relieve your pain and manage your symptoms. Cadence Health palliative medicine specialists:

  • Treat pain and other physical symptoms of cancer, such as fatigue, nausea, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, breathing
  • difficulties, and weight loss
  • Treat emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety
  • Improve your body’s ability to tolerate cancer treatments
  • Help you better understand tests, procedures, and options
  • Guide you and those who care for you to helpful outside resources

From your initial diagnosis throughout your care, the palliative medicine team at Cadence Health can help you remain stronger in your fight against cancer and feel better, every step of the way.

Clinical Trials

You can participate in major clinical trials, which focus on prevention and treatment options for breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Rehabilitation

Occupational and physical therapy may be an important component in your rehabilitation program to prevent shoulder and arm stiffness, muscle weakness and decrease your chance of developing lymphedema. Learn more about our breast cancer rehabilitation program Cadence-health-information and lymphedema therapy services Cadence-health-information by downloading a brochure.

Clinical Trials

Find out if there’s a clinical trial for your type of breast cancer currently in progress through Cadence Health. Your doctor can tell you if you are eligible. See the Cadence Health cancer clinical trials list.

Learn more about the benefits and guidelines for participating in a clinical trial from the National Cancer Institute*.

Know what questions to ask* when evaluating a clinical study at*, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

*By clicking on these websites, you are leaving the Cadence Health website. These websites are independent resources. Cadence Health does not operate or control the content of these websites.

Support Services for Breast Cancer

If you are battling breast cancer, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center can be a vital component of your treatment and recovery. LivingWell serves as a gathering place providing comfort and community to anyone experiencing the effects of cancer. The LivingWell staff works to ensure that you and your family feel less isolated, better informed, more hopeful and empowered to take on the challenge of facing cancer.

LivingWell services include more than 60 free-of-charge programs including educational classes, support and networking groups, exercise classes, counseling, nutrition classes, and stress reduction classes. For more information or a schedule of events, contact the staff at or 630.262.1111.

The American Cancer Society’s Wig Boutique at LivingWell lets you select a brand new wig, hat and scarf at no cost while you are undergoing cancer treatment. An experienced American Cancer Society volunteer will help you select and fit the right wig.

Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

Research has shown that two gene mutations, BRCA1 and BRCA2, place their carriers at a higher risk of breast cancer. Women who inherit the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a 56 to 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer by the age of 70. It’s important to note that many women who have a gene mutation never get cancer of any type, and these genes cause only about 7 to 10 percent of breast cancers.

Cadence Health offers a genetic counseling program to provide information, cancer risk assessment and genetic testing to individuals and families impacted by cancer. A simple blood test can determine whether you carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. What you do with that information, however, can be a difficult decision. Counselors at Cadence Health are available to discuss the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of testing with you. Consider talking to a genetic counselor if you:

  • Have breast or ovarian cancer and two or more first-degree relatives (parent, sibling or child) or second-degree relatives (grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or half sibling) with either breast or ovarian cancer
  • Have breast and/or ovarian cancer and one first- or second-degree blood relative younger than 45 (or pre-menopausal) with breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer at any age
  • Have breast and/or ovarian cancer developed before age 45 (or pre-menopausal)
  • Have breast and/or ovarian cancer that is bilateral (both sides) or have multiple primary sites of cancer
  • Are a man with breast cancer
  • Have a first- or second-degree blood relative who is documented as being a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene carrier

A negative test result can relieve your anxiety about being a carrier and prevent unnecessary and expensive surveillance tests. A positive test result allows you to take certain precautions, including:

  • More frequent monitoring to catch any potential cancer at its earliest stages, when treatment is most likely to be successful
  • Adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as smoking cessation, reduced alcohol intake, regular exercise and a healthy diet
  • Participation in clinical trials and other treatment protocols, such as chemoprevention and surgery

Talking to your doctor and an experienced genetic counselor can clarify your options and help you decide which route to take.

3D Mammography

You’ll find the latest breast imaging technology at Cadence Health. Both CDH and Delnor offer 3D mammography (or digital breast tomosynthesis) for women who have been identified as having dense breast tissue or who are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer. 3D mammography is proven to:

  • Detect smaller breast cancers earlier
  • Provide greater accuracy in pinpointing tumor size and location
  • Reduce the number of patents who require follow-up testing

3D mammography produces 3D images of the breast from multiple angles using a small rotating digital scanner. Radiologists can move and enlarge the images to view any area of concern. When used in conjunction with 2D digital mammography, this increases the detection of smaller breast cancers earlier and provides greater accuracy in pinpointing tumor size and location.

Typically 3D mammography is performed on women who have been previously identified as having dense breast tissue, those who have a family history of breast cancer or who may be at a higher risk for developing the disease. As your doctor this treatment option if you fall into one of these categories.

Learn more about 3D Mammography Cadence-health-information.