Each year, doctors at Mayo Clinic perform thousands of mammograms, breast ultrasounds and needle biopsies used to remove a small, solid core of tissue (core biopsies). Mayo Clinic doctors diagnose breast conditions and provide many services to people who have breast-related problems:

High Risk Breast Clinic

If you are at high risk of breast cancer, specialists at the High Risk Breast Clinic at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, will listen to your concerns and help you weigh your options and develop a plan.

The multispecialty High Risk Breast Clinic at Mayo Clinic is designed for patients with an increased risk of breast cancer due to familial or breast biopsy based risk factors. Our caring, multidisciplinary team is made up of experts in breast health and screening including internal medicine and breast imaging, genetics, oncology, and surgery. They work with you to develop a personalized risk-management plan.

The benefits to receiving your care in the High Risk Breast Clinic at Mayo Clinic include:

  • Patient-centered care focused on your needs
  • World-class multidisciplinary expertise on a single campus
  • Individualized genetics assessment
  • High resolution breast screening technologies, including molecular breast imaging, 3-D tomosynthesis and breast MRI
  • Appointment availability within 48 hours
  • Ability to preschedule surgery and breast reconstruction consults, as appropriate
  • Expertise in all forms of breast surgery
    • nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction
    • immediate and thorough assessment of the tissue at the time of breast surgery (frozen section pathology)
  • Innovative breast reconstruction techniques, including prepectoral implants (placement of the implant in front of the chest wall muscle) and micro-surgical flaps
  • Evaluation and management of ovarian cancer risk
  • Access to research advances and ability to participate in pioneering clinical trials
  • Unparalleled care from compassionate and empathetic care team

Risk Factors

The high Risk Breast Clinic specializes in the following risk factors:

  • Familial/Genetic factors. These include a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer. Or a gene mutation in yourself or family members. Gene mutations include:
    • BRCA1 or BRCA2
    • ATM, BARD1, BRCA1, BRCA2, BRIP1, CDH1, CHEK2, EPCAM, FANCC, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, NBN, PALB2, PMS2, PTEN, RAD51C, RAD51D, TP53 and XRCC2.
    • Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1)
    • Other hereditary syndromes with potential breast cancer risk
  • High risk based on risk assessment model. You and your doctor can use results from a breast cancer risk assessment to determine if you have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Tissue-based (breast biopsy findings). These include atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). Other benign breast diagnoses include:
    • Flat epithelial atypia
    • Cytologic atypia
    • Papilloma
    • Sclerosing adenosis
    • Radial Scar
  • Other. For example, another risk factor is a history of radiation therapy to chest.

Breast Diagnostic Clinic

Doctors from the Breast Diagnostic Clinic evaluate and treat people who have a variety of breast-related problems or complications including:

  • Abnormal mammogram
  • Breast cancer risk assessment
  • Breast pain
  • Changes in breast skin
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • New breast lump
  • Nipple discharge

Your doctor provides imaging services for screening, mammography, ultrasound and interventional procedures (image-guided cyst aspirations and needle biopsy). You and your doctor will work with specialists in the Breast Cancer Clinic, radiation therapy for cancer (radiation oncology), medical cancer treatment (oncology), plastic surgery and genetics, depending on your needs.

Breast Imaging and Intervention

Doctors from Breast Imaging and Intervention provide services such as mammography, breast ultrasound and MRI-guided breast biopsy. Radiologists interpret mammograms and perform procedures to determine whether an abnormal mammogram, breast lump or other suspicious breast condition is cancerous (malignant).

Mayo Clinic doctors also provide the following breast imaging and intervention services:

  • Biopsy scheduling and availability of results within 24 to 72 hours
  • Breast pathologist review of biopsy tissue
  • Needle biopsy using a machine that takes images of the same area at different angles (stereotactic) or ultrasound guidance
  • Radiologists who have expertise and experience in all areas of breast imaging and intervention
  • Screening and diagnostic mammography

Breast Cancer Clinic

Women who have a new diagnosis of breast cancer or a history of breast cancer with new needs are seen in the Breast Cancer Clinic. Your doctor provides counseling on sentinel lymph node biopsy, breast-conserving therapy versus mastectomy and other treatments for breast cancer. You and your doctor discuss concerns about recurrent breast cancer, breast cancer that has spread (metastatic) or advanced breast cancer and your treatment options.

Breast surgery

If you choose surgery, doctors from the Breast Diagnostic Clinic and Breast Cancer Clinic coordinate your care. Breast surgeons and plastic surgeons work with you to provide the most appropriate care.

Mayo Clinic doctors often can schedule surgery for the next day for people who are diagnosed with breast cancer. After removing the cancer, your surgeon immediately evaluates the removed tissue while you're in surgery. Your surgeon works with a doctor who studies tissue samples for signs of disease (pathologist) to verify the tumor's edges and make a more informed diagnosis.

Breast Dermatology Clinic

Mayo Clinic doctors who specialize in skin disorders (dermatologists) provide timely evaluation of patients who have or may have:

  • Skin involvement with breast cancer (such as primary or metastatic breast cancer, or Paget's disease of the breast)
  • Side effects from breast cancer treatment, particularly radiation therapy
  • Rashes or other types of inflammation affecting breast skin

In addition to reviewing the history and performing a clinical exam, evaluation may include a skin biopsy for examination. The doctors who staff the Breast Dermatology Clinic include clinical dermatologists, dermatopathologists and a dermatologic surgeon.