Breast Cancer Specialist

Gynecologic Oncology Specialists

Anne O. Rodriguez, MD

Gynecologic Oncologist & Breast Surgeon located in Santa Barbara, Lompoc, & Ventura, CA

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer to strike women in the United States. Expert surgeon and gynecologic oncologist Anne O. Rodriguez, MD, can help women diagnosed with breast cancer with treatment and breast-conserving surgeries. Women in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Lompoc, California, can call the office nearest them or schedule online to discuss surgical treatment options.

Breast Cancer Q & A

What should I know about breast cancer?

When malignant cells develop in the tissue of the breast, a diagnosis of breast cancer occurs. Cancer can affect the various structures in the breast, including lobes made up of tiny bulbs that create milk and ducts that carry the milk to the nipple.

The most common type of breast cancer is called ductal carcinoma and begins in the cells of the ducts. There are many other types of breast cancer, some of which may even affect men.

What symptoms suggest I have breast cancer?

The symptoms of breast cancer depend on the type of cancer you have. Signs may include:

  • A lump in the breast or underarm area
  • Fluid other than breast milk leaking from the nipple
  • Change in breast size or shape
  • A nipple that suddenly turns inward
  • Dimpling or puckering of breast skin
  • Redness, swelling, or scaly skin on the breast

If you notice any of these changes or your general practitioner has found a lump, contact Gynecologic Oncology Specialists.

Who is at risk for breast cancer?

Men and women can both get breast cancer, but it’s much more common in women. Certain conditions may increase your risk, such as:

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Inherited changes in the BRCA genes
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Taking hormone therapy medications
  • Starting menstruation before age 12
  • Having never been pregnant

If you’ve had breast cancer in the past or are of increasing age, you’re also at risk. Additionally, lifestyle factors such as being obese and drinking alcohol may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. 

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

Regular clinical breast exams and mammograms (for most women older than 40) screen for cancer as part of your routine well-woman visit. If you find a lump or abnormal growth, you may undergo a tissue sample collection (biopsy) that a lab analyzes.

Dr. Rodriguez also performs sentinel lymph node mapping and biopsy, the best way to determine if cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes. This process is part of breast cancer surgery. If the cancer has spread, it helps inform further treatment.

What are my surgical treatment options?

Treatment for breast cancer includes radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Often, surgery is also required.

If you and Dr. Rodriguez agree, and it meets your treatment protocol, you may be a candidate for a nipple-sparing mastectomy. This treatment involves making a small incision and removing all of the breast glandular tissue. The overlying skin and nipple are left intact.

As an alternative to a full mastectomy, Dr. Rodriguez offers breast-conserving surgery when appropriate. This is lumpectomy followed by moderate-dose radiation in women with early-stage breast cancer.

If you have breast cancer, call Gynecologic Oncology Specialists to learn your treatment options. Alternatively, book an appointment online.