Breast Care Center
The Breast Care Center (BCC) at Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute (MMCCI) is a state-of-the-art, full-service facility providing comprehensive breast health care, including screening, early detection, diagnostic imaging services, specialist consultation for benign breast conditions and treatment of breast cancer in a warm, welcoming and patient-family centered environment. We recognize the patient is a partner in the decision-making process, and we are committed to providing all the information and support necessary to empower women and men throughout their breast cancer experience.
Our center also offers comprehensive breast diagnostic work-up and multidisciplinary breast cancer treatment. If you have any breast related symptoms or suspicious changes, please inform your primary care physician or gynecologist first. However, if you are not under the care of a physician, we will be glad to address your breast concerns and communicate back to your physician.
At the Breast Care Center, we want to make sure getting your mammogram is convenient for you. In most cases, you are welcome to call and schedule your own screening mammogram. If you do not have your own primary care provider, we can assist you in finding one.
Types of Breast Conditions and Breast Cancer Treated
- In situ (or non-invasive) breast cancer
- Invasive ductal breast cancer
- Invasive lobular breast cancer
- Inflammatory breast cancer
- Paget’s disease
- Metastatic breast cancer
- Nipple discharge
- Breast pain
- Fibrocystic breast syndrome
- Short term follow-up of benign biopsy
- Short term follow-up of radiographic changes
- Family history of breast cancer
- Patient with benign breast history
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The Breast Care Center values active partnerships by treating patients, families and health care providers with dignity and respect; promoting education and research, including clinical trials; and involving community participation and support. We provide streamlined access to a range of support services locally and statewide to help patients and their families deal with the physical, emotional, financial and logistical impact of cancer treatment. This careful attention to each patient’s personal needs – and those of his or her family – ensures that no one should ever feel alone through a breast cancer diagnosis.
We practice a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Our team of specialists includes surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Non-physician members of the team include a breast certified nurse practitioner, clinical nurse navigators, an oncology clinic nurse specialist, oncology clinic nurse, survivorship navigator, research nurses, oncology dietician, oncology social worker, certified genetic counselor, and the American Cancer Society patient navigator.
The breast care team participates in weekly conferences to review data and develop treatment plans that are best for the patient. The team members review radiology imaging, pathology specimens, and surgical assessment. Their recommendation for optimal treatment planning is then reviewed with the patient and family to keep them well informed, comfortable, confident, and knowing what to expect every step of the way.
Whenever possible, care is coordinated to provide consultations at the BCC during a single visit. This is particularly convenient for patients from outside the Portland area.
We collaborate with our referring physicians, including primary care physicians, to coordinate the best care option for their patient.
Leading-Edge Screening and Diagnostic Services
The MMCCI Breast Care Center provides screening mammograms and clinical breast exams to aid in screening and the early detection of breast cancer. Upon discovery of a breast lump or an abnormal mammogram, we follow up quickly with the appropriate diagnostic resources, such as:
- The most advanced diagnostic imaging modalities including full field digital mammography, ultrasound and breast MRI, as well as lymphoscintigraphy for lymph node mapping
- Nonsurgical stereotactic and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy to evaluate breast abnormalities, performed by a diagnostic radiologist who is a breast specialist
- Interpretation by diagnostic radiologists with specialty training in breast imaging
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy by experienced breast surgeons
Life Saving Seeds
We are also pleased to announce that MMC is the first hospital in Maine, and one of a handful in New England, to be using a new method involving tiny, radioactive seeds to help remove breast cancer tumors. This new technique, Radioactive Seed Localization, involves planting a rice-size seed into a patient’s tumor. The low level radiation emitted by the seed helps the surgeon locate the tumor with greater precision, which improves our outcomes.
Both the cancer and seed are removed during surgery.
Previously, a wire was placed into the tumor. In addition to causing some patient discomfort, the wire had the potential to move as the patient was transferred from Radiology to surgery.
An added benefit is that all breast cancer surgeries are performed at our Scarborough Surgery Center, located near the MMC Cancer Institute, where the seeds are implanted.
MMC has been accredited by the American College of Radiology for mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, and breast ultrasound, earning it the designation of Breast Imaging Center of Excellence.
Comprehensive Treatment Resources
Treatment options for breast cancer include surgery, medical oncology and radiation therapy (radiation oncology). Clinical trials also are available to qualifying patients.
Surgery: Depending on tumor location, size, grade and node status, surgical options include breast-conserving lumpectomy, quadrantectomy and mastectomy. BCC surgical care is overseen by a sub-specialty fellowship trained surgical oncologist.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: Before undergoing mastectomy or other surgical treatment, patients can explore options for immediate or delayed reconstructive breast surgery.
Medical Oncology: The latest, most effective standard-of-care chemotherapy, hormonal treatment and trastuzumab (Herceptin®) regimens for all stages of breast cancer are available to patients.
Radiation Oncology: Includes conventional external beam radiation and, for appropriate patients, HDR partial breast irradiation (Mammosite®), a five-day targeted radiation therapy that places the radiation source inside the lumpectomy cavity. MMC’s partial breast irradiation program has been in place since 2005 and has experienced positive results, with patients indicating high satisfaction and minimal side effects.
Clinical Trials: All patients with breast cancer are carefully screened and, when appropriate, offered the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial. The advantage of participating in a clinical trial is that patients may receive newer treatments that are not yet available to the general public but may be more effective. By participating in a clinical trial, patients also will be helping others who are diagnosed with cancer in the future. BCC staff work collaboratively with the oncology specialists at Maine Center for Cancer Medicine (MCCM), where dozens of active clinical trials are underway.
Our commitment to providing the highest quality evaluation and management of patients with breast disease earned MMC a Three-Year Full Accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) in March 2010. MMC is one of only a few facilities in New England to receive this high level of achievement, reflecting compliance with 27 standards established by NAPBC to assure that patients are afforded access to a full range of critical services for their disease.
Expert Nursing Team
Our nursing team is made up of exceptional nurses who have received specialized education and training in breast health and breast cancer, and they support all Breast Care Center patients. These nurses serve as clinical patient navigators, survivorship navigator, and breast nurse practitioner.
Clinical patient navigators are highly skilled oncology-certified nurses who guide patients and families through the diagnostic and treatment process. These specially trained nurses help patients and families fully understand their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment options so they can make the most informed decision about which treatment to undergo. Our patient navigators support patients through the healthcare system from diagnosis through survivorship.
The BCC survivorship navigator, the first of its kind in Maine, is a specially trained nurse and cancer survivor herself. This program helps meet the diverse and complex needs of cancer survivors as they transition from active treatment . The survivorship navigator identifies the current barriers experienced by patients and guides them to quality survivorship care. Read more about survivorship support.
Our breast nurse practitioner is an Adult Nurse Practitioner certified through the American Credentialing Service. She provides education and clinical breast exams to women with breast issues, at high risk, or with highly suspicious breast problems. The nurse practitioner provides assessments, orders appropriate radiology imaging consults with radiologists and works closely with breast surgeons to efficiently serve patients. The nurse practitioner oversees the care of patients at high risk for developing breast cancer, meets with newly diagnosed patients, and follows them through post-op and recovery.
Additional Services for Patients
Genetic Counseling: The MMC Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic provides a certified genetic counselor and medical oncologist to help guide breast cancer risk reduction and treatment decisions through risk assessment, genetic testing and counseling. This is important for women with a family history of breast cancer or other special concerns.
Survivorship care plans are given to patients who have completed their cancer treatment. These care plans provide a summary of treatment received, potential late effects, their symptoms and treatment, recommendations for future cancer screening, psychosocial and financial effects, recommendations for a healthy lifestyle and referrals for future follow-up care.
Bridges Breast Cancer Survivorship Clinic is designed to meet the unique needs of the survivor. Working collaboratively with the Breast Care Center and Maine Center for Cancer Medicine, our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to assisting breast cancer survivors in living a healthy life after cancer.
Bridges Survivorship Educational Classes are a series of classes offered to all survivors, family, caregivers, and friends that addresses the most common issues facing survivors today. Held weekly for 90 minutes, each class focuses on a different topic. The series is designed to allow the survivor to enter the series at any point and participate in as many classes as desired. Classes currently being offered include:
- Introduction to Cancer Survivorship
- On the Other Side of Cancer: Fear of Recurrence, Living with Uncertainty, and Your New Range of Emotions
- Bring Back That Loving Feeling: Sexuality and Intimacy after Cancer
- Your Career after Cancer: Returning to Work
- Living with Late Effects of Cancer Treatment
Each class is co-facilitated by the survivorship nurse navigator as well as an “expert” from the community on the class topic. This series of classes is not only meant to be educational and supportive but also to highlight the community partnerships that MMCCI has with the various organizations throughout the area that can help survivors and their families.
Educational literature on breast cancer is available at the Center. The Pink Tote we provide to each patient includes a wealth of information and educational resources.
Our staff will facilitate referrals to an exceptional array of support and education services, including the American Cancer Society patient navigator, oncology dietician, oncology social worker, Palliative Care Program, Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic and the Maine Health Learning Resource Center. Read more about Supportive Services for Patients and Families.
MMCCI Breast Care Center
100 Campus Drive, Suite 121
Scarborough, Maine 04074