What is breast cancer
Breast cancer forms in the breast when cells grow out of control forming a tumor. These tumors can be seen in an x-ray or often physically felt in the breast in the form of a lump or a mass. The tumor is considered cancerous or malignant if it begins to invade surrounding tissues or spread into other areas of the body (metastasize). Although breast cancer is predominantly found in women, men can also get breast cancer.
How common is breast cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 250,000 cases of breast cancer in women in 2017. It is the most common cancer in women, with the exception of skin cancers.1 Approximately 30% of new cancer cases in women will be attributed to breast cancers.2
Questions regarding your breast cancer therapy
You can reach the Accredo oncology care team, anytime, day or night, seven days a week.
24-hour Customer Service Center
What are the symptoms of breast cancer
Common symptoms can include:
- Lump in the breast or underarm
- Warm or red breast without a rash
- Change in breast shape, size or texture
- Ongoing pain in the breast
- Physical changes to the breast or nipple
- Nipple discharge
- Soreness in nipple area
- Irritation in the skin
How is it diagnosed
A series of tests, procedures and scans are needed to diagnose cancer in the breast. These might include self-examination, imaging tests, or biopsies. Genomic tests are also performed to predict the risk of recurrence.
- Self-examination: Breast cancer typically has no symptoms, so knowing how your breasts normally look or feel is important. Early detection of breast cancer provides a better chance of successful treatment. You can examine your breast by using your hands gently in small circular motions around the entire breast and under the arm to feel for any unusual lumps. Additionally, check for discharge from the nipple area by squeezing the nipple.
- Imaging Tests: These tests show pictures of the inside of the breast in a suspicious area found during normal screening. There are various types of imaging tests that may be performed to accomplish this:
- Diagnostic mammography
- Biopsy: The removal of a tissue sample from a suspicious area in the breast for microscopic examination. There are different types of biopsies using different techniques to collect the tissue.
- Fine needle aspiration biopsy
- Core needle biopsy
- Surgical biopsy
- Image-guided biopsy
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy
What are the subtypes of breast cancer
Breast cancer occurs in different areas of the breast such as ducts, lobules, or the tissue in between. Tumors can be non-invasive, invasive, recurrent, or metastatic. There are also molecular subtypes of breast cancer.
- Endocrine receptor-positive:
(also referred to as hormone-receptor (HR) positive)Estrogen-receptors (ER) and/or progesterone-receptors (PR) found on breast cancer cells grow in response to estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones.
HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein that appears on the surface of some breast cancer cells. The HER2 protein is an important part of the pathway for cell growth and survival
- Triple positive:
Positive for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2
- Triple negative:
Not positive for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2
Accredo, a specialty pharmacy for breast cancer, dispenses specialty and non-specialty breast cancer medications including (but not limited to):
|Abraxane® (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension)||Celgene|
|Faslodex® (fulvestrant)||Generic(s) Available||Astra Zeneca|
|Kisqali® Femara® Co-pack (ribociclib, letrozole)||Novartis|
|Nerlynx ® (neratinib)||Puma|
|Phesgo™ (pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and hyaluronidase-zzxf)||Genentech|
|Zoladex® (goserelin acetate)||AstraZeneca|
Accredo also dispenses traditional chemotherapy medications as well as supportive care medications ordered by your prescriber that are not listed above.
Financing Your Care
Financial assistance coordination may be available to help with your medication costs, including manufacturer and community programs. Accredo representatives are available to help find a program that may work for you.
Life-saving specialty medication can be expensive. Learn how the Accredo teams help individuals find ways to afford the medication they need to survive in this video.
There are many organizations that support research and advocacy for cancer. See below for a few of those organizations.
Breast cancer organizations
- American Cancer Society
- American Society of Clinical Oncology
- Association of Cancer Online Resources
- Cancer Support Community
- Livestrong Foundation
- National Foundation for Cancer Research
- Prevent Cancer Foundation
- Conquer Cancer Foundation
- Cancer GRACE
- National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network
- Patient Advocate Foundation
Meet the Team
Accredo’s oncology care team is dedicated to serving you and we understand the complexity of your condition. Our specialty-trained clinicians are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any questions.
Why We Do It
Accredo supports patients with chronic and complex conditions and helps them live their best life. Watch our video to learn why we do what we do for our patients.