Comprehensive Breast Health Center

Patient Story

"Is there a loved one in the waiting room?" Michelle knew what would come next but she couldn't even say the word "cancer." In a 17-minute documentary, Michelle documented every stage of her breast cancer treatment at UC San Diego Health, complete with raw emotions and the trials that come with it. Her doctors, Anne Wallace, Richard Schwab and James Urbanic, help explain the process along the way.

Watch the video.

If you've been recently diagnosed with breast cancer or a benign breast condition and don't know where to begin, start your journey with us. We have approaches you won't find anywhere else in the San Diego region. Our doctors, research scientists and other providers collaborate to give you cancer-fighting resources that only an academic health system can provide.

Why Choose Us?

UC San Diego Health is ranked among the nation's best in cancer services by U.S. News & World Report, and is one of fewer than 50 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country—and the only one in San Diego County. Our state-of-the art facility is located within the Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion on the La Jolla campus.

The Comprehensive Breast Health Center includes specialized suites for medical and surgical care of patients with breast conditions ranging from advanced cancer to benign cysts. And:

  • Our breast specialists are leaders in their field and members of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, helping to set standards for cancer detection and treatment 
  • Studies show patient outcomes are better at NCI-designated cancer centers
  • Access to comprehensive services in a warm, caring environment
  • Leading-edge technology, including genetic testing and personalized therapy
  • You'll benefit from the expertise of a multidisciplinary review board that meets weekly to discuss the best treatment for each individual patient 
  • You may be eligible for clinical trials that allow you to be among the first to benefit from novel treatments
  • Our high-risk clinic offers prevention and screening services for those who may at high risk of developing breast cancer

Breast Cancer Q&A

Our breast cancer experts answer questions about mammogram guidelines, genetic testing and preventive mastectomies, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), and possible future treatments. Read the Q&A.

A Treatment Strategy Unique to You

Here, you’ll find specialists who work together to understand your individual disease and to develop a treatment strategy that is unique to you – one targeted to your specific disease. This means you’ll get the best chance at breast conservation and the most current chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or radiation options for the most favorable results. And if you qualify for one of our many research trials, you’ll have access to treatments that offer hope for better therapies in the future. Read more in Treatment Options.

A True Team Approach

It’s rare to find a true team approach that coordinates the multiple specialties needed for your particular case, but you’ll find it here. Our physicians, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, advanced practice providers and social workers all work together—most just down the hall from one another—and meet weekly to discuss the best options for every patient. This ongoing collaboration means you do not have to run from specialist to specialist, hoping that they communicate and agree on your treatment. Meet our team.

Advanced Outpatient Imaging

The Comprehensive Breast Health Center has a fully integrated suite of advanced imaging technologies in one location, including screening and diagnostic mammograms. The space is equipped with five new 3-D capable mammography units---which provide superior results to conventional 2-D imaging, particularly in dense breast tissue that may hide a malignant growth.

Ultrasound, molecular breast imaging and MRI suites that offer patients and their radiologists the most advanced technologies and software are available. Image-guided biopsies are performed onsite by subspecialty radiologists.

Same-Day Surgical Options

Increasingly, breast cancer surgery is becoming less invasive and can be performed on an outpatient basis. Breast conservation often can be accomplished through a lumpectomy or segmental mastectomy (removal of only the affected tissue). Major surgeries requiring an overnight stay, such as double mastectomy, are performed at the adjacent Jacobs Medical Center. Read more about surgical treatmentbreast reconstruction and post-surgery support.

Dedicated Infusion Center

UC San Diego Health is the only local health system to offer an infusion center dedicated to patients with breast cancer. The spacious, 12-chair center at Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion offers soothing panoramic views of the La Jolla canyons and is a few steps away from our clinics so that patients are always close to their doctors and nurses.

Cancer Rehabilitation

Patients who may experience complications from cancer treatment are eligible for a breast cancer rehabilitation program where issues such as pain, lymphedema (a form of severe swelling) and hair loss are managed.

Post-mastectomy pain management with a multidisciplinary approach is tailored to each patient. Certified therapists address any post-operative issues such as range of motion, scarring and lymphedema prevention.

Extraordinary Support Services

Our comprehensive approach goes beyond providing you with the best available treatment options and includes access to extraordinary care and support services, including acupuncture, massage, support groups and classes, and dietary counseling. Our psychosocial support team will put you in touch with resources to help manage your life and your wellness during treatment and recovery.

Follow-up Continues Past Initial Treatment

Your team will stay with you for years through our Survivorship Program. While most surgeons don't follow their patients for very long after surgery, our entire team is involved in your follow-up care for many years. Read more about the Survivorship Program.