Learn More

Learn about groups and organizations that offer breast cancer support. The helpful information and resources below include some of the local organizations that have services and programs available to you.  Remember to contact local organizations such as hospitals and support groups; they will have information about additional state and local programs.

Cancer Financial Assistance Providers

The Breast Cancer Charities of America – Help Now Fund
Financial assistance program for certain living expenses. Available to patients actively undergoing treatment for their breast cancer diagnosis. One application per year.

The Pink Fund
Short-term financial aid for cost of living expenses.

A Simple Loaf of Bread
Provides gas and gift cards to cancer patients.
(916) 479-5052

Patient Advocate Foundation – National Financial Resource Directory
A resource directory to help patients find programs to improve access to quality care and decrease the financial burden of medical treatment.

Patient Advocate Foundation & Co-Pay Relief
Financial assistance program for prescription drug co-payments.

Cancer Care Financial & Co-Pay Assistance
Limited financial assistance program for cancer-related costs and co-pays. Professional oncology social workers available to help find additional resources. Online financial resource database is also available.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Program to help patients who are uninsured or underinsured gain access to the medicines they need. To find out if you qualify for assistance, visit their website.

Understanding Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common form of internal cancer in women and the second most common cause of cancer death for women in the U.S. 

More than 260,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer this year. 41,000 of them will die in 2019 from the disease. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. While most cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women, more than 2,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in American men each year.

For either sex, symptoms of breast cancer may be detectable through breast self-exam or a doctor’s exam and mammography. The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump found in the breast or armpit area, but there are several other possible signs and symptoms. Since symptoms of breast cancer can be related to noncancerous breast conditions, further evaluation is almost always required to confirm a diagnosis.

The American Cancer Society recommends that those 40 to 44 years of age have the option to begin annual mammography; those 45 to 54 undergo annual mammography; and those 55 years of age and older may transition to biennial mammography or continue annual mammography. Women should continue mammography as long as overall health is good and life expectancy is 10 or more years.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention


American Cancer Society – Cancer Facts & Figures 2019

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Finding a Lump or Hard Knot

Breast tissue is naturally lumpy. Some women may detect a lump or knot that feels harder or thicker than the surrounding tissue. Not every lump is cancerous. Some lumps are related to a woman’s menstrual cycle and disappear after menstruation. A lump may also indicate a benign cyst. In any case, if you ever notice any type of unusual growth you should be seen by a doctor.

Dimpled Skin

Dimpled or puckered skin can be a sign of breast cancer, as can large visible pores. Or, the skin may take on an orange-peel-like appearance. If one or both of your breasts show any of those indicators, don’t wait – call your physician.

Skin Signs

If you notice patches of skin on your breast, nipple or areola – the darkened skin surrounding the nipple — pay close attention. If those areas become scaly, itchy, and red or darkened, or your breast feels warm where irritations have broken out, see your doctor.

Changes in Breast Size

If you are not breastfeeding, sudden swelling in one or both breasts may indicate a blockage that causes lymph fluid to back up. A problem with your lymph nodes may also appear as swelling in your collarbone or armpits. If one or both breasts shrink unexpectedly, it may be a sign of significant hormonal changes, which can be a trigger for cancer.

It’s normal to have one breast that is slightly larger than the other. However, if you notice a recent change in your breasts, bring this up with your doctor.

Nipple Changes

Some types of breast cancers cause the nipple to retract or completely invert. If this is not normal for you, see a doctor. Conditions such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, and aging can also cause these changes. Some people are born with inverted nipples, as well.

Nipple Discharge

A discharge from your nipple, whether clear or bloody, may indicate a tumor. Know that an infection or an injury to your breast can also cause a discharge. It helps to be aware of any discharge and to keep track of it. If it persists, see your doctor.

Breast Pain

Breast pain makes the list of common symptoms, but be aware that while some breast cancers cause pain in the breast, most do not. Studies have shown that only about five percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have pain as their main symptom.

Types of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the tissues of the breast.

There are two main areas of the breast where breast cancer starts:

  • Ductal carcinoma starts in the tubes (ducts) that move milk from the breast to the nipple. Most breast cancers are ductal.
  • Lobular carcinoma starts in the lobules, the parts of the breast that produce milk.

Breast cancer can be invasive or noninvasive.

Invasive means it has spread from the milk duct or lobule to other tissues in the breast. Noninvasive means it has not yet invaded other breast tissue. Noninvasive breast cancer is called “in situ.”

Lobular carcinoma in situ 

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is an area (or areas) of abnormal cell growth that increases a person’s risk of developing invasive breast cancer later on in life. Lobular means that the abnormal cells start growing in the lobules, the milk-producing glands at the end of breast ducts. Carcinoma refers to any cancer that begins in the skin or other tissues that cover internal organs — such as breast tissue. In situ or “in its original place” means that the abnormal growth remains inside the lobule and does not spread to surrounding tissues

Despite the fact that its name includes the term “carcinoma,” LCIS is not a true breast cancer. Rather, LCIS is an indication that a person is at higher-than-average risk for getting breast cancer at some point in the future.

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. The term “situ” in the title means “in its original place.” Therefore, these atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue. Ductal carcinoma in situ is very early cancer that is highly treatable, but if left untreated or undetected, it can spread into the surrounding breast tissue. When you have had DCIS, you are at higher risk for cancer coming back or for developing new breast cancer than a person who has never had breast cancer before.

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), sometimes called infiltrating ductal carcinoma, is the most common type of breast cancer. The abnormal cancer cells that began forming in the milk ducts have spread beyond the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body. IDC is the most common type of breast cancer, making up nearly 70-80% of all breast cancer diagnoses. It is also the type of breast cancer that most commonly affects men.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer is an aggressive and fast-growing breast cancer in which cancer cells infiltrate the skin and lymph vessels of the breast. It often produces no distinct tumor or lump that can be felt and isolated within the breast. But when the lymph vessels become blocked by the breast cancer cells, symptoms begin to appear. It is a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.

Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic breast cancer is also classified as Stage 4 breast cancer. The cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This usually includes the lungs, liver, bones or brain. Keep in mind that a recurrence of breast cancer or metastatic (advanced) disease is NOT hopeless. Many women continue to live long, productive lives with breast cancer in this stage. It is also likely that your experience with treatment this time will be somewhat different from last time. There are so many options for your care and so many ways to chart your progress as you move through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond.

Hormone Receptors and Breast Cancer

Your pathology report will include the results of a hormone receptor assay, a test that tells you whether or not the breast cancer cells have receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Hormone receptors are proteins — found in and on breast cells — that pick up hormone signals telling the cells to grow.
One major way of defining your type of breast cancer is whether or not it is:

  • Endocrine receptor (estrogen or progesterone receptor) positive
  • HER2 positive
  • Triple negative, not positive to receptors for estrogen, progesterone, or HER2
  • Triple positive, positive for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and HER2

These classifications provide doctors with valuable information about how the tumor acts and what kind of treatments may work best.

Estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+)

A cancer is called estrogen-receptor-positive ( ER+) if it has receptors for estrogen. This suggests that the cancer cells, like normal breast cells, may receive signals from estrogen that could promote their growth.

Progesterone-receptor-positive (PR+)

A cancer is progesterone-receptor-positive (PR+) if it has progesterone receptors. This means that the cancer cells may receive signals from progesterone that could promote their growth.

Roughly two out of every three breast cancers test positive for hormone receptors.

HER-2 positive (HER-2+)

A cancer is HER-2 positive (HER-2+) if the cancer cells have too much of a growth-promoting protein known as HER2 protein, which promotes the growth of cancer cells. In about one of every five breast cancers, the cancer cells make an excess of HER2, due to a gene mutation. Cancer cells that have too many copies of the HER-2 gene produce too much of the growth-promoting protein called HER-2. Medications are available to shut down the HER-2 protein, thus slowing the growth and killing these cancer cells.

Triple Negative

A cancer that is neither estrogen-receptor-positive, progesterone-receptor-positive or HER-2-positive is referred to as Triple Negative Breast Cancer. This type of cancer is typically more aggressive and does not respond to hormone therapies.

Testing for hormone receptors is important because the results help you and your doctor decide whether the cancer is likely to respond to hormonal therapy or other treatments. Hormonal therapy includes medications that either (1) lower the amount of estrogen in your body or (2) block estrogen from supporting the growth and function of breast cells. If the breast cancer cells have hormone receptors, then these medications could help to slow or even stop their growth. If the cancer is hormone-receptor-negative (triple negative), then hormonal therapy is unlikely to work. You and your doctor will then choose other kinds of treatment.

Staging of Breast Cancer

Stage 0

Very early breast cancer or pre-invasive cancer. This type of cancer has NOT spread within or outside of your breast (also called in situ or noninvasive cancer).

Stage I

Tumor smaller than 2 cm. (1 inch*). No cancer is found in lymph nodes in the armpit, or outside the breast.

Stage II

  • Tumor smaller than 2 cm. (1 inch). Cancer is found in the lymph nodes in the armpit.


  • Tumor between 2 and 5 cm. (1 and 2 inches). Cancer may or may not be found in the lymph nodes in the armpit.


  • Tumor larger than 5 cm. (2 inches). Cancer is not found in the lymph nodes in the armpit.

Stage III

  • Tumor smaller than 5 cm. (2 inches) with cancer also in the lymph nodes that are stuck together.


  • Tumor larger than 5 cm. (2 inches).


  • Cancer is attached to other parts of the breast area including the chest wall, ribs, and muscles.


  • Inflammatory breast cancer. In this rare type of cancer, the skin of the breast is red and swollen.

Stage IV

Tumor has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, lungs, liver, or brain.

* Cm. means centimeters. One inch equals 2.5 centimeters. Inches listed above are not exact measurements.

This staging information is courtesy of “A Woman’s Guide to Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment,” Developed by the California Department of Health Services.

Questions to Ask Your Medical Team

We highly recommend that you have a support person with you when you are discussing your diagnosis and treatment options with your medical team. A spouse, family member, or close friend whom you trust can provide valuable support and a second set of ears.

A member of the Albie Aware care team is often available to attend appointments with you to take notes for you, offer additional questions to ask and advocate for your best treatment. Call the office at (916) 927-1592 to schedule an appointment.

Contact our office for your FREE breast cancer guide- The Breast Cancer Companion: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed.

You have likely just experienced many diagnostic breast tests, ending with a breast biopsy that has come back positive for breast cancer. It can be a scary and confusing time. It’s important for you to have a support person with you and be ready with questions and a note pad as you have consultations with a breast surgeon, a surgical oncologist, and a radiation oncologist.

Depending on where you are in your breast cancer journey, the following questions are appropriate for you to ask your doctors and will help you understand your individual diagnosis and treatment options, and help you prepare for your best care.

Questions to ask your doctor about your pathology report:

  • What kind of breast cancer do I have?
  • What is the stage of this type of breast cancer?
  • What is the grade and what does that mean?
  • May I have my breast biopsy reviewed by a pathologist at another diagnostic center?
  • What other tests were done on my tissue?
  • How do these results define my treatment options?

Questions to ask when deciding on a treatment plan.

1. Do I need other tests, such as a chest x-ray or a PET scan, before we decide on a treatment plan?

2. What are the treatment options for my stage and type of breast cancer?

  • surgery
  • radiation
  • chemotherapy
  • hormonal therapy
  • biologically targeted therapy
  • clinical trials
  1. What treatment(s) do you feel will work best for me and why?
  2. What are the side effects of your prescribed treatment plan and how can I manage them?
  3. How long will treatment last?
  4. When can I go back to work after surgery/Will I be able to work during my treatment?
  5. Can you suggest a mental health professional I can see if I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed or distressed?
  6. Will I need special tests to track my treatment, such as imaging scans or blood tests, and how often?
  7. Will the treatment affect my normal activities? My family?
  8. How will the treatments affect my appearance?
  9. What studies are currently under way for my type of cancer?
  10. Should I think about genetic testing?
  11. Do you recommend participation in a clinical trial? If so, where do I go?
  12. What if I would like a second opinion?
  13. Where can I find additional support?

Questions to ask after treatment:

  1. How should I change my diet after treatment?
  2. Are there any limitations on what I can do?
  3. Am I at risk for lymphedema?
  4. What can I do to reduce my risk for lymphedema?
  5. Can you recommend a lymphedema therapist?
  6. What kind of exercise should I do now?
  7. How will I be monitored after treatment?
  8. When will I have follow up exams, blood tests and imaging tests?
  9. How can I reduce the chances of my cancer coming back?

Breast Cancer Support Groups and Camps

Support Groups in the Greater Sacramento Area
Click here for a listing of Sacramento area support groups.

Breast Cancer — Reach To Recovery
Helps breast cancer patients meet the emotional, physical and cosmetic needs related to disease and treatment.

American Cancer Society
1765 Challenge Way, Suite 115
Sacramento, CA 95815

Date/Time: By appointment
Contact: 916-446-7933

Me-One Foundation/Camp Challenge
P.O. Box 135
Roseville, CA 95678
(916) 784 CAMP (2267)

Camp Kesem
P.O. Box 452
Culver City, CA 90232
Contact: 260-22-KESEM (5-3736)

Breast Cancer Support Group
Sutter Roseville Medical Center
One Medical Plaza Drive
Roseville, CA 95661
Date/Time:  First and third Tuesday of each month, 6 to 7:30 p.m., and second and fourth Thursday of each month, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Contact: C.J. Doran, 916-781-1634

Breast Cancer-Recurrent-Metastatic
Sutter Roseville Medical Center
One Medical Plaza Drive
Roseville, CA 95661
Date/Time:  First and third Thursday of each month, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Contact: C.J. Doran, 916-781-1634

Carrie’s Touch, Inc.
372 Florin Rd, PMB 197
Sacramento, CA  95831
Contact: Rev. Tammie Denyse

Healing Images
Art Therapy support group for adult cancer patients
Peggy Gulshen, ATR-BC,MFT 916-454-6555

An exercise and peer support group for women who have breast cancer.
Date/Time: Call for specific dates and times.
Contact: Sarbjit Kaur, 916-264-8066 ext.32

Save Ourselves/Breast Cancer Support Group
A breast cancer support group for breast cancer patients.
Groups are available for women who are newly diagnosed, in treatment, or those living with metastatic disease. Group size is limited to ten participants. To facilitate group cohesiveness, participants are encouraged to commit to attend eight consecutive meetings.
Date/Time: Groups meet twice a month on Thursdays 10 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m.
Location: Locations vary
Contact: Cass Brown Capel, 916-787-8787

Spanish Speaking Breast Cancer Support Group
Sutter Cancer Center
2800 L Street
Sacramento, CA 95816
A breast cancer support group provided in Spanish.
Date/Time: First and Third Monday of each month, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Facilitator: Angie Mejia, 916-267-3303

Latina Save Ourselves/Y-Me Breast Cancer Support Group
1066 26th Street
Sacramento, CA 95816
A breast cancer support group provided in Spanish.
Date/Time: Second and fourth Monday of each month, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Contact: Inez Barragan, 916-448-5432

Post Mastectomy Physical Therapy and Lymphedema Therapy Providers

Vibrant Care Rehabilitation
2901 K. Street, Suite 170
Contact: Kimberly Reid, PT, DPT, OCS, 916-448-4884

Lymphatic Drainage and Breast Health Sessions
Michelle Sanderson, CMT916-215-2605

Ferguson Physical Therapy – Lymphedema Specialist
2628 EL Camino Ave. Suite 1
Sacramento, CA 95821
Contact: Kristen Ferguson, PT, CLT 916-977-0267

Health and Wellness Providers

“Look Good Feel Good”
Free Instruction on coping with the appearance related side effects of chemotherapy
American Cancer Society
Held at Mercy Cancer Center
2nd Wednesday of the Month, 6 – 8p.m.
3301 C Street, Suite 550
Sacramento, CA 95816
Call to register- 1-800-227-2345

Yoga For Living
Thriving during and after breast cancer
Contact: Marsha Mobley Kilian, BSW,MBA,RYT 916-295-4047

Triumph Cancer Foundation
Recapturing lives after cancer though Triumph Fitness
947 Enterprise Drive, Loft B
 Sacramento, CA 95825

Contact:Paula Plesha 916-296-7368

Wellness Within – Mind-Body Wellness Center
Yoga, Meditation, Guided Imagery, Music &Motion
609 Oak Street
Roseville, CA 95678


Pacific Trauma Specialists
For Emotional Healing
Contact:Shirley Telep, LMFT, 916-608-4569

Breast Cancer Education and Support Services

Jacquelyn’s Salon, Wig and Gift Boutique
Jackie Pometta 916-764-2648
2475 Elk Grove Blvd.., Elk Grove

TurbanDiva Designs
Laurie Andreoni 916-801-8759

Women’s Healthcare Image
5282 Elvas Ave
Sacramento, CA 95819


American Cancer Society

ACS Reach to Recovery Breast Cancer Patient Support

Find Local ACS Cancer Support and Services

TLC Hair Loss and Mastectomy Products

Breast Reconstructions Matters

Nonprofit providing complete and up-to-date information about breast cancer

My Breast Cancer Coach
Personalized breast cancer treatment plan

Cancer Support Community
Focus on Wellness and treatment of whole person
Cancer support Hotline-1-888-783-9355

Cancer Care Online Support
Free, professional support services for anyone affected by cancer.  Services include free : counseling, support groups, education workshops, publications and Financial Assistance.

Healin Comfort
Post Breast Cancer Surgery Shirt

Janac Sportswear

Providing sportswear and post-mastectomy wear designed by a breast cancer survivor for active women.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer
National Education and Support Organization

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation
Triple negative breast cancer information, patient advocacy, support services, research

Voices of Survivors

Devoted to exploring the concept of survivorship and what it means to individual survivors.

Breast Cancer Trials

Cancer Patient Legal Rights

10 Steps to Protecting the Legal Rights of a Cancer Patient

  • Read your health insurance policy carefully.
  • Determine if the treatment prescribed by your physician is covered by your policy.
  • Find out about the appeals process under your policy.
  • Consult with an expert who is knowledgeable about health insurance law.
  • Plead your case in person to your insurance carrier.
  • Personalize your written case with your insurance company.
  • Obtain copies of your medical records.
  • Document everything.
  • Ask your physician to advocate for your treatment.
  • Be prepared to fight.