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Breast health

Expert care for breast health

From adolescence to adulthood, your breasts will continue to change. Becoming familiar with your breasts will help you know what’s normal for you, and catch something out of the ordinary early on.

From breast screenings during preventive care visits to same-day mammogram appointments, we’re making it easier for you to take control of your breast health.

At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, we can help you at over 30 locations in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We also provide breast screenings and advanced treatment at Jane Brattain Breast Center, Regions Hospital Breast Health Center and Lakeview Breast Health Center.

No matter where you work or live, you won’t have to go far to find expert answers, exceptional treatment and compassionate support.

Preventive breast health and screenings

The following actions and lifestyle changes can help you maintain your breast health:

Get screened

Regular mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early, when it’s most treatable. Our doctors can help you decide how often you should get a mammogram.

Eat well and exercise

Research shows that regular physical activity and healthy food choices with plenty of plant-based foods can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Don't smoke and limit alcohol

The World Health Organization reports that tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world. Drinking alcohol has also been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. The more you drink, the more the risk increases.

What we treat

Our board-certified doctors are leading the way in breast health care. We can help you with:

  • Benign breast tumors
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast injuries
  • Breast implant concerns
  • Conditions that put you at a higher risk for breast cancer
  • Fibrosis and fibrocystic changes

Symptoms of breast health concerns

The symptoms of a breast concern can take many forms. Although most breast pain is not related to cancer, it is important to pay attention to how your breasts normally look and feel. Talk with your primary care doctor or OB-GYN about any changes, including:

  • Lumps
  • Nipple discharge
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • Swelling under the arm or around the collar bone
  • Breast pain

Diagnosing breast health concerns

Our “no sleepless nights” promise means our care team works together to get you answers quickly so you don’t lose sleep worrying about test results. We read the results of screenings as soon as possible. If more tests are needed, we will help you schedule a follow-up appointment shortly thereafter. And if you notice a lump in your breast, swelling or another concern, we’ll work with you to schedule a same-day appointment whenever possible.

We use the latest technology to screen for potential problems and diagnose breast health concerns, including:


Mammograms are the most common and easiest way to look for early signs of breast cancer. There are two types of mammograms: screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms. Screening mammograms check for cancer when you have no signs or symptoms. Diagnostic mammograms may be used when someone’s had breast cancer in the past, a screening mammogram showed a concern or symptoms like breast pain or a lump exist.


These imaging tests use sound waves to look at the inside of your breast and can also evaluate your lymph nodes. Ultrasound tests can help distinguish between fluid in cysts and solid tumors. It’s important to note that solid tumors can be either benign or malignant.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast combines multiple images to generate detailed pictures. Doctors often recommend breast MRIs after a positive biopsy result. The MRI gives doctors more information about any cancer that may be present. If you have breast cancer in your family or know that you carry a genetic mutation linked to breast cancer, your doctor may also perform an MRI in addition to a mammogram.

Breast biopsy

A biopsy removes a small amount of tissue from the breast and checks for cancer cells. Doctors use several different types of biopsies to help diagnose breast cancer. To help with comfort during a biopsy, doctors use a local anesthetic to numb the area.

Genetic testing

Genetic testing examines chromosomes, genes or proteins to help determine a person’s chance of developing breast cancer or other genetic disorders. You may have a higher risk of developing cancer if a gene error or genetic mutation runs in your family. Errors in two particular genes – BRCA1 and BRCA2 – are linked to breast cancer in men and women, as well as ovarian and prostate cancer.

Treating non-cancerous breast health concerns

Treatment varies from person to person, depending on the diagnosis. Non-cancerous breast conditions are very common. In fact, most breast conditions turn out not to be cancer. We use the latest technology to make sure you get the best science-backed treatment.

Continued monitoring

For non-cancerous conditions, no treatment may be needed if you do not experience symptoms or if symptoms are mild. Your doctor may recommend continued monitoring, watching for changes through screenings and regular checkups.

Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication

For bacterial infections, doctors often prescribe antibiotics. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also provide relief.

Fine-needle aspiration

For this treatment, doctors may use a thin needle to drain fluid from painful cysts. This causes the cyst to collapse and the pain to go away.


Some non-cancerous conditions are treated with surgery. If you need surgery, our expert surgical team will work with you to develop a detailed care plan. We also partner with our board-certified plastic surgeons when reconstructive surgery is needed.

Regardless of your treatment, you will be supported by a team of experts who will help you every step of the way – from appointment scheduling to post-treatment support and everything in between.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)