Breast Cancer Program

It's a matter of trust.

If you have breast cancer or another breast condition, you want the most comprehensive care and expertise available:

In 2017, Holden breast imaging experts performed more than 11,300 mammograms and our breast specialists cared for more than 1,700 breast cancer patients. Read more breast cancer facts and figures.

As a breast cancer patient, we know what you’re going through. It is our privilege—and our responsibility—to provide the care you expect and deserve. You can trust us to be with you every step of the way.

Honored to be a 2018 Fan of the Year Winner

During her treatment for breast cancer, Traci McCausland says: “Coach Fran and Margaret McCaffery were incredibly supportive of us, as this obviously hit close to home given their son Patrick’s cancer battle. We were so grateful for the support from the entire Iowa Athletic Department and UI Center for Advancement,” she says.

The Coaches Fan of the Year award, which includes winners from the state’s universities, is made possible through the generosity of Dale and Marilyn Howard of Iowa Falls. “The award was extra special to my parents, Dick and Janet Winder,” Traci says, “because I grew up next door to the Howard family.”

Traci says she shares the Fan of the Year award with her care team from the University’s Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I’ll be forever grateful to Dr. Sneha Phadke, Dr. Sonia Sugg, and Dr. Tom Lawrence and their support teams for helping us navigate the scariest time of our lives with such honesty, insightfulness, and world-class research and medical treatments.”

What Sets Us Apart

  • Advanced techniques in breast reconstruction. Our center performs the most DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) procedures in Iowa. DIEP is an advanced microsurgical procedure used for patients who desire breast reconstruction using their own tissue.
  • Among the nation’s best. Holden Cancer Center is a National Institutes of Health-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 45 such centers nationwide. Our breast center is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers for meeting and exceeding the highest standards for breast care. We also meet or exceed the breast cancer quality measures for the Commission on Cancer.American College of Radiology—Breast Imaging Center of Excellence badge
  • Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. We use the most advanced technologies and techniques, including 3-D mammography (tomosynthesis), for screening and diagnosis.
  • Clinical trials. For you as a patient, this means access to potentially new medications, treatments, or imaging studies not yet widely available.
  • Coordinated care, personal attention. Our multidisciplinary care team includes a nurse navigator who will help coordinate all aspects of your care. We also offer a range of counseling services, support groups, and more for you and your family.
  • Experts dedicated solely to breast care. Our fellowship-trained specialists focus primarily on breast cancer and other breast conditions. This leads to deeper understanding, greater expertise and, ultimately, better care for you.
  • Genetic counseling. Our genetic counselor will obtain and analyze your family history to calculate your risk for having a genetic mutation and counsel you on which genetic test, if any, to undergo.
  • Genetics of tumors. We examine the molecular makeup of your cancer cells tumor to help find specific treatments that will work for you.
  • Team approach, advanced treatments. Our breast care experts—surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and others—work together to develop and offer advanced treatments and therapies for you. Treatment plans may include:

Comprehensive Care With You in Mind

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only institution in Iowa—and one of only 45 nationwide—to be designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Of the approximately 1500 cancer centers and programs in the United States, NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers are rated in the top 4 percent nationally.

To be a "comprehensive" center means our medical teams have met strict guidelines in clinical, laboratory, and population-based research.

As members of an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, our doctors, nurses, and staff are among the nation’s leaders in cancer research, education, prevention, and outreach. Our experience—and our expertise—guides the cancer care we provide to patients like you.

Choose Holden for Your Care

Patients of Holden Cancer Center benefit from a team-based approach that puts each patient at the center. At Holden, experts in specific cancer types—including a genetic counselor certified and specializing in cancer genetic counseling—is part of this team.

Holden patients also benefit from medical advances that take into account an individual’s tumor, genes, environment, and lifestyle to diagnose and treat their specific types of cancer. Known as personalized, or precision medicine, this highly specialized approach is part of Holden’s commitment to providing life-changing medical treatments and care.

Team-Based Approach

We bring together experts from different areas of medicine to work together as a team called a multidisciplinary oncology group, focused on a specific cancer type, such as breast cancer. This team of specialists—surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, pharmacists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, genetics counselors, nurses, and others—work together to design a treatment plan that is tailored to your cancer and your specific treatment needs.

The Power of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments not yet available to the public. These new treatments have the potential to improve your quality of life or increase your chances of survival.

Many of our patients have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials led by Holden Cancer Center doctors or in collaboration with other cancer centers nationwide or the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Our clinical trials for breast cancer patients include:

Breast Molecular Epidemiologic Resource
The Breast Molecular Epidemiology Resource (BMER) opened in 2010 to create and maintain a large scale clinical information and tissue repository for breast diseases at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. The BMER also studies the quality of life of patients through a periodic survey.
BMER Newsletter
Vandetanib trial
This study will test the effect of Vandetanib on breast cancer. Prior to surgery for breast cancer, study participants will take a 10-day course of Vandetanib to see if and how the medication affects their cancer. Vandetanib is a drug currently used to treat a rare type of thyroid cancer. If it also is effective in treating breast cancer, it could quickly add another drug to our treatment options.

See a complete list and learn more about clinical trials at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Team of Experts

Stories From Our Patients

Support Our Mission

Our work is made possible in part by the support of donors through charitable giving. Friends of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center can become partners in our efforts to control—and ultimately cure—cancer. Learn how you can help us make a difference for cancer patients.

Care Team

Specialized Clinical Nurses

  • Lindy Cannady, RN
  • Julie Lynch, RN
  • Holly Heims, RN

Social Services

  • Denise Kanne, MSW
  • Mary Brumm, MSW