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Breast Cancer

About Breast Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, Louisiana has one of the highest cancer mortality rates in the nation. We do not have a higher incidence of most cancers; instead, we have higher death rates. This is due to lack of access to care, delayed diagnosis and treatment, limited educational awareness and low utilization of preventative services. Screening tests can help find cancer at an early stage, before symptoms appear. The earlier abnormal tissue or cancer is discovered, the more options there are for successful treatment. Learn more about breast cancer below.

Locations Just for Women


At the Breast & GYN Cancer Pavilion, a unique facility dedicated solely to treating women with breast and gynecologic cancer, Mary Bird Perkins, Our Lady of the Lake and Woman’s Hospital are working side-by-side. With the most experienced doctors and teams, surgical procedures, breakthrough treatments and national clinical trials, we provide everything needed for your care and life beyond your diagnosis.


Women in the Bayou Region have access to exceptional and compassionate care at Terrebonne General Health System Women’s Imaging and Breast Center, where our focus is on the comfort and overall wellness of the patient. The center offers bone densitometry scans, digital mammography, core breast biopsies, Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI), breast needle localizations, ultrasound and an array of mammography and other breast imaging techniques.

Advanced Treatment

Gamma Knife Icon (GKI) is an innovative, noninvasive radiosurgery technology used for treating metastatic breast cancer when tumors have spread to the brain. The first of its kind in the Gulf South, GKI treats only the parts of the brain that need it, sparing healthy tissue and enhancing quality of life. There are no incisions with this treatment and, in most cases, little to no side effects. To learn more about the Gamma Knife Icon, click here.

Patient Stories


“When you don’t speak English, you’re always fearful language will be a barrier to your care but that was not the case,” said Ruth. “Now, I tell people to not be afraid and take advantage of the Cancer Center’s free screening services; they will be with you every step of the way. They saved my life.”

OLOL blog- Ruth



Women should get a clinical breast exam at least every three years, starting in their 20s, and get an annual exam and mammogram starting at 40. Breast self-exam is an option beginning at age 20. See a doctor about any breast changes.

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Some risk factors for breast cancer are not preventable, such as getting older, personal or family history of breast cancer or some non-cancerous breast diseases, while some risk factors can be associated with lifestyle choices. Not being physically active, being overweight or obese after menopause or drinking alcohol can increase your risk. If you have questions about potential risk factors in your life, talk with your doctor.


Possible symptoms of breast cancer may include swelling of all or part of the breast, breast or nipple pain or the nipple turning inward, or a lump in the underarm area. Skin irritation or dimpling, redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin, or nipple discharge other than breast milk are other possible signs. Please consult with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.


Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that involve human beings in order to test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose or treat diseases. A drug must be part of a clinical trial before the FDA will approve it to be put on the market. Oncology clinical trials are conducted in order to test new drugs or a new combination of drug treatments, new surgery and radiation therapies and new medical devices. Every cancer center patient is evaluated for participation in a clinical trial. Those who meet the criteria to participate in clinical research receive a standard of care treatment, but with the added benefit of a trial that may enhance their outcomes. If interested in volunteering to participate in a clinical research trial, or if you have concerns about the conduct of clinical research, please contact the Clinical Research office at (225) 215-1353, or by email at

Geaux Pink

If you’re interested in joining the fight against cancer, consider Geaux-ing Pink this October. Geaux Pink is a signature awareness and fundraising event that allows the Cancer Center to partner with individuals, schools, businesses and sports teams to raise funds and awareness around breast cancer. Signing up is easy! Click here to learn how!

Additional Support

  • American Cancer Society
    The American Cancer Society website contains information on many aspects of cancer care geared toward patients and caregivers.
  • National Cancer Institute
    National Cancer Institute is a federal program that is part of the National Institutes of Health. It has resources and information for patients and caregivers which is based on scientific research.
  • Centers for Disease and Prevention
    The Centers for Disease and Prevention website provides resources for breast cancer patients.
  • SurviveDat
    SurviveDat is a resource for young breast cancer patients and caregivers.