Cancer Care at NCH

Breast Cancer

Expert Breast Cancer Care. Close to Home. Located in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.

NCH is your trusted partner in breast health. As one of the top providers of 3D digital mammograms in Illinois, we provide four imaging locations in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove and Schaumburg -- all with short wait times and same day results. 

Our advanced diagnostic capabilities and outstanding medical staff assure effective treatment of everything from a benign cyst to breast cancer. You'll be guided through treatment by a dedicated patient navigator, who will be with you every step of the way.

Our multidisciplinary approach and high level of patient care has been recognized with numerous awards and accreditations, including the American College of Surgeons’, American College of Radiology Accreditation for Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, Commission on Cancer, and Magnet® Status for Nursing Excellence, achieved by only 7 percent of hospitals nationwide.

Your most effective breast cancer treatment plan

Upon detection of even the smallest breast cancer tumor, your NCH Breast Center team works with you to create a comprehensive individualized treatment plan. A highly-skilled team of specialists – oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologists—work together to ensure you receive the most effective breast cancer treatment.

Your doctors use the following factors to determine the most effective treatment:

  • Size of tumor, if lymph nodes are involved, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, indicating the four stages of breast cancer: stages I, II, III, and IV
  • Sensitivity of your breast cancer to hormones, indicated by the presence of estrogen and progesterone receptors
  • Advanced tumor testing may be performed to provide information leading to personalized treatment (e.g., HER2, Oncotype Dx, Mammoprint)
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Mammography made easy

NCH offers same day results for mammograms at all four of our convenient locations. NCH is proud to offer breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography. This advanced technology has been shown to increase breast cancer detection and reduce false-positives results. Read more about NCH mammography services.

When you need more than a mammogram.

Mammograms are essential for all women, but 40 percent of women in the U.S. have dense breast tissue, which can hide abnormalities in mammograms.  If you have ever been told your mammogram results were "inconclusive," then you may have dense breast tissue and qualify for a secondary test: ABUS (Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening).

Advanced Diagnostics, Fast Answers

No waiting, no worrying. If we spot a possible problem during your mammogram, we can perform additional testing and get you the answers you need fast – often the very same day. Our advanced diagnostics include:

  • 3T MRI—Enhanced imaging of smaller, more difficult-to-read areas, helping to identify tumors in the breast that may have been missed by a mammogram. The most advanced breast imaging available.
  • Breast ultrasounds—Determines if a mass is fluid-filled or solid
  • Intact breast excisional biopsies—Traditional method to remove the mass
  • Advanced Genomic Testing-Tests performed on cancer tissue that can be used to predict therapy benefit and likelihood of cancer reoccurrence.
  • MRI-guided biopsies—Guides biopsies on very small areas visible only with MRI
  • Needle/Wire localization—Minimally invasive, two-stage  procedure to accurately remove small, suspicious areas in the breast. Radiologist inserts specialized hollow needle containing a thin wire. Needle is removed, wire remains in place, a mammogram is performed. Surgeon uses the wire and mammogram to guide accurately removal of suspicious area during surgery. Click here for an educational video.*
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy—Minimally invasive, two-stage procedure to identify and remove sentinel lymph nodes near cancerous tumor and most likely to spread primary tumors. Radioactive tracer and numbing medication injected into breast to identify nodes. Nodes removed during outpatient surgery and analyzed for presence of cancer cells. Click here for an educational video.*
  • Stereotactic breast biopsies—Digital images from a variety of angles map precise location of an abnormality before sample taken. Click here for an educational video.*
  • Ultrasound-guided biopsies—Ultrasound imaging guides radiologists when taking samples of a solid mass. Click here for an educational video.*

*The stereotactic breast biopsy video was produced by South Sound Radiology, and CancerQuest produced the sentinel lymph node biopsy video. The ultrasound-guided biopsy and needle/wire localization videos were produced by UPMC. Northwest Community Healthcare does not have affiliations with these organizations.


Advanced, Minimally Invasive Options

There are many advanced options for treating breast cancer. Local therapies such as minimally invasive surgeries are often recommended. They can target cancer cells while avoiding a mastectomy. Radiation therapy is another local therapy that targets the tumor directly. If it's difficult for to determine if the cancer cells have spread, however, your doctor will also recommend one or a combination of systemic therapies, which travel through the bloodstream looking for additional cancer cells.

Chemotherapy Treatments

A combination of drugs that kill cancer cells, given in a specific order for a specific period of time and then followed by a recovery time

Radiation Therapy

A local treatment that affects only the part of the body being treated. It uses special equipment to deliver high doses of radiation that destroy cancer cells. Whole breast radiation or internal radiation may be given. The most common internal radiation is called accelerated partial breast radiation (APBI)—a system of radiation delivery for breast cancer using a multi-lumen catheter. This therapy dramatically reduces the amount of time required for patients needing radiation therapy. NCH is able to offer multiple state of the art radiation therapy choices to individualize your care.

Hormone Therapy

Blocks the effects of your body’s hormones. If your cancer is hormone-sensitive, this may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy

Targeted Molecular Therapies

Targeted molecular therapies, which interfere with specific molecules involved in cancer cell growth and survival, are drugs that are available for treatment of breast cancer.

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Multidisciplinary team of cancer healthcare specialists

Northwest Community Hospital has teams of highly experienced, board-certified physicians including surgeons, pathologists, oncologists, radiologists, Patient Navigators, Magnet®-designated nurses, advanced practice nurses, social workers, dietitians and rehab specialists work together to provide the best possible cancer care throughout your cancer treatment process.

These teams meet weekly to review NCH cancer diagnosis and treatment plans —giving our patients the benefit of multiple opinions. NCH's team-based approach to cancer treatment gives you the attention and care you deserve.


Allyson Jacobson, M.D., FACS

Dr. Jacobson is the medical director of NCH's Breast Program. She is board certified in general surgery and is fellowship trained in breast surgical oncology. Articles by Dr. Jacobson: "Ten things I learned when I had my first mammogram," "Mammograms save lives."


Personalized, ongoing support from Cancer Patient Navigators

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, specially trained nurses are available to help you and your family every step of the way. These patient navigators will help you understand your cancer treatment options, assist you with scheduling tests and appointments, and help you find the resources you need before and after cancer treatment. They are available to listen and provide support any time you need them. Click here to learn more about Breast Patient Navigators.

The breast patient navigator program is supported by a generous grant from the Susan F. Lasky Foundation. The Foundation pays tribute to Suzie Lasky—a courageous young woman who lost her six-year battle with breast cancer.

The Foundation also provides support to the NCH Genetics Program, which offers cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling and genetic testing for hereditary cancer susceptibility.

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Sandra's Story

Sandra's Story

Sandra enjoyed playing with her five grandchildren and coaching a women's after-work softball team in the northwest suburbs. But when she felt a lump in her breast in late 2012, she was nervous. Sandra immediately turned to NCH.

See Sandra's Story

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