Expertise with Confidence to Fight Breast Cancer
When facing breast cancer, you need high-quality care delivered with compassion and confidence. We care for each patient under a multidisciplinary medical team dedicated to making individualized decisions for your type and stage of breast cancer.
Our team meets regularly to review new or challenging breast cancer cases and reaches a consensus on treatment strategies. Through this coordinated approach, we strive to provide thorough and personalized care with access to innovative therapies.
Diagnosing Breast Cancer
- Imaging: Most breast imaging occurs through a mammogram or ultrasound.
- In a mammogram, your doctor examines X-ray images of the breast from multiple angles.
- In an ultrasound, a device bounces high-energy sound waves off your tissue. The echo patterns create a sonogram that technicians can see on the ultrasound machine.
- Occasionally, doctors will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or other specialized examinations.
Biopsy: If the imaging exam shows an unusual or suspicious mass or skin thickening, doctors will conduct a biopsy to examine a tissue sample and make a definitive diagnosis.
Breast cancer patients usually undergo an image-guided core needle biopsy. A live image of the breast tissue helps doctors guide the needle to suspected cancer tissue, understand if additional images or biopsies are needed, and see if the cancer has spread.
- Molecular diagnosis: If the patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, doctors will also analyze the cancer cells to determine the disease’s molecular receptor subtype. By understanding the subtype, they can develop a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan.
Breast Cancer Symptoms and Risks
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Lump or mass in the breast
Lump or mass in the armpit
Breast skin changes
Dimpling or puckering on the breast
Discharge from the nipple
Scaliness on nipple
Nipple turning inward, pulling to one side, or changing direction
An ulcer on the breast, nipple, or areola
Swelling of the breast
Potential Risk Factors
A family history of breast cancer
A family history of ovarian cancer
Age (most patients are diagnosed after age 50)
Bilateral cancer diagnosed at any age
Breast cancer diagnosed at or before age 50
Having dense breasts
Known genetic mutations (BRCA1 or BRCA2)
Men with a personal history of breast cancer
Previous radiation therapy treatment
Women's Diagnostic & Wellness Center
The Broward Health Medical Center and the Women's Diagnostic & Wellness Center at Broward Health Coral Springs has a highly experienced team of technologists and radiologists sensitive to women's needs. We offer advanced screenings and technology with a full-field digital mammography system. This technology enables radiologists to more precisely detect and characterize suspicious or obscure lesions. For high-risk patients, breast MRI is available to detect minuscule breast cancers that mammography or breast exams might miss.
Breast Cancer Treatments
- Lumpectomy: Surgeons remove the tumor and a small amount of surrounding normal tissue for early breast cancer cases where the tumor is still small. Lumpectomies are generally outpatient procedures and have shorter recovery times. Radiation therapy usually follows these procedures.
- Mastectomy: Removal of the tumor and the entire breast. In some elevated-risk cases, both breasts are removed, known as a double mastectomy, to help prevent the development of new breast cancer. Often a mastectomy and breast reconstruction can be performed in the same procedure.
- Lymph node removal: Breast cancer can spread through nearby lymph nodes to distant organs. Doctors will remove lymph nodes to study them and determine whether there are cancer cells and a need for chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Radiation therapy: Powerful beams of energy carefully kill breast cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be used before surgery to shrink large tumors and make the surgery easier on the patient. Radiation therapy can also be used after surgery to kill any remaining breast cancer cells that the naked eye cannot see. Our doctors and radiation oncologist will collaborate to ensure you receive the most effective and precise treatment dose.
- Targeted therapy: Targeted therapies can stop or slow the cancer growth by interfering with, or targeting, the molecules or the genes that produce them. Endocrine therapy, also known as hormone therapy, is effective for patients with hormone receptor-positive cancer, HER2-positive breast cancer, and metastatic breast cancer. While there are no targeted therapies for triple-negative breast cancer, researchers are studying the disease to identify possible drug targets.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells, control their growth, or relieve pain as the treatment diminishes the cancer presence. Patients often receive chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor and simplify the procedure. Breast cancer patients receive chemotherapy either orally or intravenously.
Support Services for Breast Cancer Patients
Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund
The Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund provides funding to provide women in our community access to care, screenings, and breast treatments that may otherwise be unattainable. Program administrators assess each situation individually based on income or a lack of insurance, and women must be Broward County residents to be eligible. Learn more about the Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund.
The Enlightened Women’s Club
The Enlightened Women's Club is a health and well-being membership program within the Broward Health Coral Springs Women's Diagnostic and Wellness Center. Explore the benefits of joining, and call 954.344.3344 or email our Community Education Center for more information.
Why Choose Broward Health?
- Our multidisciplinary team of breast cancer physician leaders—surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, reconstructive surgeons, and other skilled professionals—pool their expertise to ensure you receive the most effective treatments for your circumstances.
- A full spectrum of care for every type and stage of breast cancer—from detection through survivorship.
- Advanced breast imaging technologies for effective breast screening and diagnosis.
- Our cancer genetics program helps determine whether you are at higher risk for breast or other cancers. If you are, we’ll work with you to explain the screening, genetic counseling, education, risk reduction, and prevention options. Complete this form to get started.
- Access to clinical trials for emerging and innovative therapies for breast cancer.
- Quick and immediate appointments with our breast cancer specialists.
- Access comprehensive support services including our integrative oncology specialists, social workers, nutritional specialists, palliative medicine, and behavioral health.
Breast Cancer Program Director
Alia Abdulla, DO, FACS, leads our breast cancer team and is a fellowship-trained surgical oncologist who has practiced medicine since 2007. She received a Clinical Research Training Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2002 to perform research at the National Cancer Institute. In 2007, Dr. Abdulla received her medical degree from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, FL. She completed her residency training in general surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where she served as chief resident, graduating in 2012.
She has received multiple awards, including the Frederick G. Meoli Scientific Paper Award and the Elmer Grimes Memorial Award. She completed a fellowship in complex general surgical oncology fellowship at Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple University School of Medicine in 2014, where she served as a chief fellow during her second year.