Services & Treatments

Premier Breast Cancer Services

The Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI) offers a full range of breast cancer services – from early detection to diagnosis, from treatment to follow-up, from clinical research to survivorship. Our experienced, professional, highly trained, and caring providers are here for you, working as a team to beat your cancer.

LHCI is committed to bringing our premier services and renowned expertise right to your community. Because dealing with cancer is hard enough without having to travel far for treatment.

Our Scope of Breast Care

Our care starts with the latest in breast imaging, including 3D digital mammography with computer-assisted detection (CAD), breast ultrasound, and breast MRI. It continues with minimally invasive breast biopsies, treatments for benign and malignant breast disease, surgery, targeted radiation, genetic counseling and risk assessment, and much more.

LHCI provides services for women with all types of breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in situ, infiltrating (invasive) ductal carcinoma, lobular carcinoma in situ, infiltrating (invasive) lobular carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, Paget’s disease and phyllodes tumors. We also treat men with breast cancer with the same respect and caring for which Lahey Health is known.

Wide Range of Services

Learn more about LHCI’s breast cancer services and treatments:
Screening & Diagnosis

The Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI) offers state-of-the-art breast cancer screening and diagnostic technology at convenient locations north of Boston.

Early Detection is the Goal

Lahey breast cancer patient Ariana talking with a doctorDetecting breast cancer at its earliest stage offers the best long-term prognosis, so early detection is an important goal.

Breast Cancer Screening

Routine breast cancer screenings start with mammograms. At Lahey Health, we offer 3D digital mammography exams with computer-assisted detection (CAD). CAD is a computer-based process designed to analyze mammography images for suspicious areas. It serves as a “second pair of eyes” for our radiologists.

At LHCI, we believe the skill of our radiologists is second to none. Their careful, meticulous, and expert analysis of each mammogram they read has led to the detection of many tiny cancers that became just a speed bump in the lives of our patients instead of a road block.

If a mammogram does reveal an area of concern, we offer additional diagnostic imaging studies such as breast ultrasound, breast MRIs, and possible image-guided core needle biopsies for further analysis. With these treatment modalities, we can detect cancer at its earliest stages, often long before it can be felt as a breast lump. We also can determine if an abnormality on a mammogram is ultimately not suspicious, and does not require further treatment.

Advanced Diagnostics

If breast cancer is suspected, we have a number of ways to investigate it further, including stereotactic core needle biopsies MRI-guided core needle biopsies, , ultrasound-guided core needle biopsies, and PET CT scans. Everyone’s cancer is unique, and identifying the type and extent of cancer is a crucial step in determining the best treatment.


3D mammography is an FDA-approved advanced technology that takes multiple x-rays of breast tissue to recreate a 3D picture of the breast. It is also called breast tomosynthesis. Very low x-ray energy is used with 3D mammography, so your radiation exposure is very low. The multiple images from 3D mammography give doctors a clearer image of breast tissue and make it easier to detect breast cancer. Women with dense breast tissue in particular may benefit because from the clearer picture provided by this technology.

If Breast Cancer Is Confirmed

If your test results show breast cancer, be assured that you will not be in it alone. We will pair you with a patient navigator to help guide you through treatment decisions and survivorship. We will support you, educate you, and treat you according to best practices and the highest clinical standards.

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment

The risk for breast and ovarian cancer is not the same for all women. Some women need more advanced screening beyond the standard recommendations. But it’s not always clear who may be at higher risk.

To meet this challenge, Lahey Health has introduced a computerized Risk Assessment Screening Tool to help physicians more accurately determine their patients’ risk for breast and ovarian cancer. The earlier cancer is found, the greater the chance of successful treatment. This new tool helps women and their doctors determine what level of screening is best for them.

With our Risk Assessment Screening Tool, you use an electronic tablet at the time of your mammography appointment at a Lahey Health imaging center to confidentially answer questions about your health and family history. Your doctor then sees a summary that calculates your five-year and lifetime risk of breast and ovarian cancer, using nationally recognized risk models.

The doctor can then use this information to decide if you might benefit from a higher level of screening beyond regular checkups and mammograms.

Emphasis on Education

At the Lahey Health Cancer Institute, we place strong emphasis on education. Our dedicated breast surgeons and nurse practitioners conduct a thorough assessment to determine your risk for breast cancer and provide expert clinical breast examinations. They help you to better understand your own breast tissue and perform your own breast self-exam if you so desire. Our professionals work closely with our professional staff of radiologists to interpret your breast imaging studies using the latest and most advanced technology. Any woman can refer herself to LHCI for a mammogram and clinical breast exam.

Genetic Counseling

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or have a family history of breast cancer, you may be interested in genetic counseling – and Lahey Health is among the pioneers in this area.

We know that genetic mutations in breast cancer go beyond patients with BRCA genes. We have a robust Familial Cancer and Hereditary Risk Assessment program that is staffed by certified genetics counselors for all types of cancer, not just breast cancer. If you are at higher risk because of your family history, we can provide guidance on how to manage your risk.

Medical Oncology

Medical oncology is where some of the greatest advances in survivorship are happening. Today’s systemic treatments for breast cancer are so much more than chemotherapy.

Targeted Treatments

For many women chemotherapy can be avoided with a variety of hormonal approaches. In addition, at the Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI), we are using targeted treatments to defeat breast cancer at its very core – the molecular level.

Oncology Care Model

Chemotherapy treatment at LHCI reflects the Oncology Care Model (OCM) designed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in which we provide a wide variety of special support services for patients receiving chemotherapy. Learn more about OCM.


Today’s chemotherapy drugs are more effective than ever before. Most chemotherapy regimens have fewer side effects, and if side effects do occur, we have treatments to help manage them.

The chemotherapy units throughout the Lahey Health are designed to enhance patient comfort and ease of treatment. Family members or friends may stay with you while you are receiving chemotherapy. Many of our locations provide free television service and free WiFi.

Hormone/Endocrine Therapy

Hormone therapies can block the body’s ability to produce estrogen and progesterone, which can slow or stop the growth of hormone receptor-positive breast cancers. Some of the most significant advances in breast cancer treatment over the past three decades have involved the discovery and application of increasingly more effective hormonal treatments.

Molecular-Targeted Therapies

Molecular-targeted cancer therapies are drugs or other substances that block the spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor growth. It includes drugs that:

  • Interfere with the signals needed for cell growth or the blood vessels that feed a tumor
  • Promote the death of specific cancer cells
  • Stimulate the immune system to destroy specific cancer cells
  • Deliver toxic drugs to cancer cells
  • Targeted drugs can be used to address breast cancer cells with a certain genetic makeup, such as the HER2/neu protein, which tend to grow and spread faster than other breast cancers.
  • Because every breast cancer is unique, we will analyze the genetic makeup of your cancer to match you with the most effective targeted treatment for the best possible outcome.

Immunotherapy for breast cancer involves the use of substances made either in the human body or in a laboratory to boost the body’s immune system. The goal is to stimulate your body’s immune system to fight against your particular type of cancer.

Fertility Counseling and Genetic Testing

If you are concerned about how your treatment might affect future plans to have a child, we offer fertility counseling services. We also offer genetic testing for you and family members, to look for certain markers that could help assess risk as well as guide treatments and decision making.

Radiation Therapy

The Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI) offers every possible option for breast cancer radiation therapy, including leading-edge procedures that can greatly reduce treatment time and side effects.

No Unnecessary Radiation

We are focused on not exposing you to unnecessary radiation, so we are particularly skilled at adapting our services to treat you with the least amount of radiation needed.

Partial Breast Irradiation (PBI)

Partial breast irradiation is a procedure for women with early-stage breast cancer. After the tumor is removed with surgery, radiation is delivered directly via a thin tube called a catheter to the area where the cancer had been located, to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Instead of up to two months of radiation treatment, PBI requires just two treatments a day for five consecutive days.

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

LHCI is the only provider in the region to offer intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) as part of partial breast irradiation for women pursuing breast-conserving surgery. This procedure allows the patient to have a lumpectomy and a radiation treatment in the same day in the operating room.

External Radiation

External radiation, also called external beam radiation, is the most common type of radiation therapy for women with breast cancer. In this procedure, radiation from a machine outside the body is focused on the area affected by cancer. External radiation is painless and is similar to getting an x-ray, although the radiation beam is stronger.

Quality and Safety Accreditation

Your safety is very important to us. Some of our quality and safety initiatives for radiation therapy include:

  • Lahey uses the XECAN patient care and safety management system, which is technology that helps ensure the correct treatment of cancer patients.
  • We have an overarching safety program called the Radiation Oncology Safety Initiative (ROSI), which focuses on all aspects of radiation oncology that have an effect on safety.
  • We are members of the Clarity Patient Safety Organization (PSO), which operates the national Radiation Oncology Incident Learning System. By belonging to a national incident-learning database, we are able to compare our experience to that of all other participating institutions in the country, enhancing the potential for discovering significant error-prevention opportunities.
  • All of the radiation therapy sites within the Lahey Health system are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR), which ensures quality and safety in patient care.
  • The Breast Center at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, the Breast Cancer Center at Winchester Hospital, and Beverly Hospital’s Breast Health Center at the Lahey Outpatient Center, Danvers, are all accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) for their quality of care and monitoring of outcomes for patients with breast cancer and other breast diseases.

If you have been told you have breast cancer and breast surgery is recommended, you can turn with confidence to the experienced and caring breast surgeons at the Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI).

Breast-Conserving Surgery

Surgery for breast cancer has been performed for centuries, but today’s techniques are more refined than ever before – and Lahey Health’s breast surgeons are experts in performing them. Their focus is to work with each woman to achieve her goals to be cancer-free while achieving the best cosmetic outcome.

Most women diagnosed at Lahey Health with breast cancer are candidates for breast-conserving surgery, which includes lumpectomy. This in large part is due to LHCI’s excellent breast screening and diagnostic technology that can find cancer in its earliest stages.

Reconstructive Surgery

For women who are not candidates for breast conserving surgery, which is those women having a mastectomy, LHCI offers reconstructive breast surgery that includes the option for skin-sparing and/or nipple-sparing techniques for those who qualify. Our goal is to actively take care of your cancer while providing you with the best cosmetic results.

Our surgeons’ many years of experience in breast cancer treatment has made them experts in their field. They perform some of the most advanced breast cancer surgery and reconstruction available today. The majority of women are now candidates for breast reconstructions performed at the same time as a mastectomy.

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

LHCI is the only provider in the region to offer intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) as part of partial breast irradiation for women pursuing breast-conserving surgery. This procedure allows the patient to have a lumpectomy and a radiation treatment in the same day in the operating room.