UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for patients with all stages of breast cancer aimed at preservation of critical functions, prevention of disease recurrence and optimization of quality of life. Your team of cancer specialists will include experts in hematology and oncologysurgical oncologyradiation oncologypathologyplastic and reconstructive surgerydiagnostic radiology/mammography and genetic counseling.

More about breast cancer

Richard Bold © UC RegentsBreast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States other than skin cancer, and is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in American women. Each year in the United States, more than 192,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the past several years, however, deaths from breast cancer have decreased as cancer prevention, detection and treatment options have improved.

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center recommends that women have regular clinical breast exams and mammograms to help find breast cancer early. Treatment is more likely to work well when breast cancer is detected early. Women should get regular mammograms every one to two years beginning at age 40. Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancers should consult with their health care providers about the frequency of mammograms or other screening methods.

If an abnormal area is found during a clinical breast exam or with a mammogram, the doctor may order other tests, such as imaging tests (an ultrasound or a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test, or MRI) or a biopsy.

Specific surgical procedures may include:

  • Skin-sparing mastectomy: A skin-sparing mastectomy, or breast-conserving surgery, is a surgical technique that preserves the breast skin, or as much of the breast skin as possible, during a simple, modified or total mastectomy. During the procedure, the surgeon removes cancerous tissue through a small incision made around the areola; the surrounding breast skin becomes a “pocket” to then be filled with an implant or tissue from another part of the patient’s body. The skin-sparing procedure, for which most women are candidates, frequently offers the best option for a realistic and aesthetically pleasing reconstruction.  
  • Sentinel node biopsy: The "sentinel node" is the first lymph node to which the tumor would spread. A sentinel node biopsy is a highly specific and accurate form of lymph node sampling widely used in the cancer center for tumors with risk of lymph node involvement.
  • Sentinel node mapping: This procedure determines whether the cancer has spread beyond the primary site and into the lymph system. The sentinel node is identified via injection of a blue and/or radioactive dye, and the node is subsequently removed.
  • Breast conservation therapy: the use of lumpectomy in conjunction with postoperative radiation therapy.
  • Oncoplastic surgery: to prevent the lumpectomy site from looking malformed or sunken if it is simply closed after removing the lump, breast tissue from other areas of the breast can be moved to fill in the area using oncoplastic surgical procedures.

Radiation therapy: This treatment uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. Radiation therapy can be given according to the whole breast, a treatment which can range from three to six weeks depending on risk factors, or over an accelerated time series that treats the area where the tumor started, primarily the lumpectomy site with a margin (accelerated partial breast radiation therapy).

Radiation may be required after mastectomy as well in patients with large (>5 cm) tumors, tumors that invade the skin or chest wall muscles, and in people with four or more lymph nodes with cancer. Radiation has been shown to minimize disease recurrence and improve survival in these patients.

There are two types of radiation therapy:

  • External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer.
  • Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters, which are placed directly into or near the cancer. The accelerated partial breast program uses this type of radiation.

Martinez, S.R., M. Gelfand, H.S. Hourani, J.J. Sorrento, E.P. Mohan. Cardiac injury during needle localized surgical breast biopsy. Journal of Surgical Oncology. 2003 April; 82(4):261-265. 

Martinez, S.R., S.E. Young, A.E. Giuliano, A.J. Bilchik.  The utility of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and Her-2/neu status to predict survival in patients undergoing hepatic resection for breast cancer metastases. The American Journal of Surgery. 2006 Feb.; 191:281-283. 

Nakagawa, T., S.K. Huang, S.R. Martinez, A.N. Tran, D. Elashoff, X. Ye, R.R. Turner, A.E. Giuliano, D.S.B. Hoon. Proteomic profiling of primary breast cancer predicts axillary lymph node metastasis.  Cancer Research. 2006 Dec.; 66(24):11825-11830. 

Nakagawa, T., S.R. Martinez, Y. Goto, K. Koyanagi, M. Kitago, T. Shingai, D.A. Elashoff, X. Ye, F.R. Singer, A.E. Giuliano, D.S.B. Hoon. Detection of circulating tumor cells in early-stage breast cancer metastasis to axillary lymph nodes.  Clinical Cancer Research. 2007 July; 13(14):4105-4110.  

Martinez, S.R., R.J. Hagge, S.D. Christensen, J.M. Webb. Metastatic breast cancer mimicking benign fatty liver infiltration. The Breast Journal. 2008 Jan-Feb;14(1):108. 

Chen, S.L., S.R. Martinez. The survival impact of the choice of surgical procedure after ipsilateral breast cancer recurrence. American Journal of Surgery. 2008 Oct.; 196(4):495-9. 

Bowen, S.L., Y. Wu, A.J. Chaudhari, L. Fu, N.J. Packard, G.W.  Burkett, K. Yang, K.K. Lindfors, D.K.  Shelton, R. Hagge, A.D. Borowsky, S.R. Martinez, J.  Qi, J.M.  Boone, S.R.  Cherry, R.D.  Badawi. Initial characterization of a dedicated breast PET/CT scanner during human imaging.  Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 2009 Sept.; 50(9):1401-8. 

S.H. Beal; S.R. Martinez, R.J. Canter; S.L. Chen; V.P. Khatri; R.J. Bold.  Survival in 12,653 breast cancer patients with extensive axillary lymph node metastasis in the anthracycline rra.  Medical Oncology. 2010 Dec.; 27(4):1420-1424. 

Martinez, S.R., S.H. Beal, R.J. Canter, S.L. Chen, V.P. Khatri, R.J. Bold. Medullary carcinoma of the breast: A population-based perspective. Medical Oncology. 2010 Apr. 

W.H. Tseng, S.R. Martinez.  Metaplastic breast cancer: To radiate or not to radiate?  Annals of Surgical Oncology. 2011 Jan;18(1):94-103. 

Coates, J., S.R. Martinez, R.J. Bold, S.L. Chen. Adjuvant radiation therapy is associated with improved survival for adenoid cystic carcinoma of the breast. Journal of Surgical Oncology. 2010 Sept.; 102(4):342-347. 

Martinez, S.R., S.H. Beal, S.L. Chen, R.J. Canter, V.P. Khatri, A. Chen, R.J. Bold. Disparities in the use of radiation therapy in patients with local-regionally advanced breast cancer. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics. 2010 Nov.; 78(3):787-792. 

W.H. Tseng, Thomas R. Stevenson, R.J. Canter, S.L. Chen, V.P. Khatri, R.J. Bold, S.R. Martinez.  Sacramento Area Breast Cancer Epidemiology Study (SABES): Use of post-mastectomy breast reconstruction along the rural to urban continuum. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2010 Dec.; 126(6):1815-1824. 

Oncologists Specializing in Breast Cancer

Hematology and Oncology

Mili Arora, M.D.Mili Arora, M.D.
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology
Associate Director, Fellowship Program

Helen Chew, M.D.Helen Chew, M.D.
Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology
Director, Clinical Breast Cancer Program
Director, Fellowship Program

Scott Christensen, M.D.Scott Christensen, M.D.
Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology
Associate Director, Hospice Program

Kendra Hutchinson, M.D.Kendra Hutchinson, M.D.
Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology

Tianhong Li, M.D., Ph.D.Tianhong Li, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology

Eve Rodler, M.D.Eve Rodler, M.D.
Adjunct Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology

Surgical Oncology

Hira Abidi, M.D.Hira Abidi, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery

Candice Sauder, M.D., M.Ed.Candice Sauder, M.D., M.Ed.
Assistant Professor of Surgery

Diagnostic Radiology

Shadi Aminololama-Shakeri, M.D.Shadi Aminololama-Shakeri, M.D.
Associate Professor

Cyrus Bateni, MDCyrus Bateni, M.D.
Assistant Professor


Alexander Borowsky, M.D.Alexander Borowsky, M.D.
Professor of Medical Pathology

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Michelle Zaldana Flynn, M.D.Michelle Zaldana Flynn, M.D.
Associate Professor of Surgery

Ara Salibian, M.D.Ara Salibian, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery

Granger Wong, D.M.D., M.D.Granger Wong, D.M.D., M.D.
Associate Professor of Surgery

Radiation Oncology

Megan Daly, M.D.Megan Daly, M.D.
Assistant Professor


Danielle BahamDanielle Baham, M.S., R.D.

Kathleen NewmanKathleen Newman, R.D., C.S.O.

Genetic Counselors

Kellie BrownKellie Brown, M.Sc., L.G.C.

Nicole Mans, M.S., L.C.G.C.Nicole Mans, M.S., L.C.G.C.

Jeanna Welborn, M.D.Jeanna Welborn, M.D.

Social Workers

Sara Chavez, LCSW, OSW-C, ACHP-SWSara Chavez, L.C.S.W., O.S.W.-C., A.C.H.P.-S.W.

Angela Usher, LCSW, OSW-CAngela Usher, L.C.S.W., O.S.W.-C.