Mayo Clinic's approach

Breast cancer team collaborates Breast cancer team collaborates

At Mayo Clinic, cancer doctors (medical oncologists) whose specialty is breast cancer work with other experts to provide personalized care.

Your Mayo Clinic care team

Your care team is made up of highly specialized experts in the delivery of safe chemotherapy for breast cancer. They work together to provide exactly the care you need.

Personalized breast cancer treatment

Your breast cancer care team works closely with you to create a personalized treatment plan. In the past, most patients with breast cancer underwent surgery followed by chemotherapy. Now treatment can be tailored to the hormonal and genetic characteristics of your tumor (precision medicine for breast cancer). All treatment options are available at Mayo Clinic, including genomic profiling of your tumor.

Your treatment plan will be based on what's right for you and what matters to you. For example, at Mayo Clinic people with early-stage breast cancer may be eligible for a type of chemotherapy delivered before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to shrink the tumor. And people who never had breast cancer but are considered at high risk of developing it may be offered preventive strategies or referred to the high-risk breast clinic.

Mental health specialists are also part of the Mayo Clinic breast cancer care team. Talk with your doctor about whether you might benefit from a referral to one of them.

Innovative techniques

People with breast cancer who come to Mayo Clinic have access to innovative chemotherapy techniques, some of which aren't widely available:

  • Scalp cooling therapy to prevent hair loss. Mayo Clinic uses a Food and Drug Administration-approved cold therapy device (cool cap) that helps prevent hair loss from chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy). This technique shrinks the tumor before surgery, which has been proved to improve surgery outcomes.
  • Clinical research studies. Your doctor may talk with you about participating in a clinical research study (clinical trial). Clinical trials give you access to drugs and the latest treatments not yet generally available.

Chemo targets

    The Mayo Clinic experience and patient stories

    Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care like they've never experienced. See the stories of satisfied Mayo Clinic patients.

    1. Navigating Breast Cancer With Support and Strength

      Brenda Braatz has been dealing with breast cancer since 2013. Although the diagnosis and its treatment haven't been easy, Brenda is thankful for the expert care, compassion and encouragement she's received from her Mayo team. On Jan. 4, 2013, Brenda Braatz stepped on a roller coaster and didn't get off for five years. At least [...]

    2. Finding Breast Cancer Sooner

      Jan Jenswold wasn't concerned when she went in for her annual mammogram. Then the test picked up something suspicious, and a follow-up found that Jan had breast cancer. But the early diagnosis brought with it an optimistic prognosis. Today, with her cancer in the past, Jan now encourages others to make mammograms a priority. "I [...]

    3. Living in the Present, Grateful for Life

      Buoyed by her Mayo Clinic care team, Kellie Leasure, a 48-year-old mother of four living with metastatic breast cancer, embraces each day. On the trip home from a Mayo Clinic appointment in January, where Kellie Leasure had received the news that metastatic breast cancer had again spread to her brain, "The Warrior" by Patty Smyth [...]

    4. Scalp Cooling Therapy Preserves Kristin Ferguson's Hair -- and Her Positive Attitude

      Diagnosed with breast cancer, Kristin Ferguson needed chemotherapy after a mastectomy. Uneasy about losing her hair, she was relieved to be offered a way to keep her long locks intact with scalp cooling therapy. It was during a March 2016 visit to the hair salon that Kristin Ferguson first heard about scalp cooling therapy. She [...]

    Expertise and rankings

    Mayo Clinic consultation for chemotherapy for breast cancer Mayo Clinic consultation for chemotherapy for breast cancer

    A Mayo Clinic doctor and nurse listen to a woman's concerns before she begins chemotherapy for breast cancer.

    Every year Mayo Clinic chemotherapy teams treat more than 2,000 people with breast cancer. These teams help people with all types of breast cancer, from the least to most aggressive.

    Nationally recognized expertise

    Outside organizations recognize Mayo Clinic breast cancer specialists through accreditations, grants and rankings:

    Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked highly performing for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

    Locations, travel and lodging

    Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

    For more information on visiting Mayo Clinic, choose your location below:

    Costs and insurance

    Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

    In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals, or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

    Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.

    Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.

    More information about billing and insurance:

    Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota

    Mayo Clinic Health System

    Clinical trials

    Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease.

    June 29, 2018
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    5. What you need to know about breast cancer. National Cancer Institute. Accessed June 29, 2017.
    6. Taghian A, et al. Overview of the treatment of newly diagnosed, non-metastatic breast cancer. Accessed July 5, 2017.
    7. Fertility concerns and preservation for women. Cancer.Net. Accessed Aug. 23, 2017.
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    12. Barbara Woodard Lips Patient Education Center. Breast Cancer Handbook. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
    13. Nangia J, et al. Effect of a scalp cooling device on alopecia in women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. The SCALP randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2017;317:596.
    14. Boland TA. Financial Planning and Analysis. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 5, 2017.
    15. Alvaro Moreno A (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. July 17, 2017.
    16. Melisko ME, et al. Objective assessment of physical activity during chemotherapy for breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. In press.
    17. Goetz MP, et al. Tumor sequencing and patient-derived xenografts in the neoadjuvant treatment of breast cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2017;109:djw306.
    18. Von Roemeling C, et al. Breaking down the barriers to precision cancer nanomedicine. Trends in Biotechnology. 2017;35:159.
    19. Breast cancer prevention — Patient version (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. Accessed July 11, 2017.
    20. AskMayoExpert. Breast cancer. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.

    Chemotherapy for breast cancer