Skip to Main Content

Breast Cancer: Home

What Is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer. The kind of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer.

Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast is made up of three main parts:

  • Lobules - glands that produce milk.
  • Ducts - tubes that carry milk to the nipple
  • Connective tissue - fibrous and fatty tissue that surrounds and holds everything together

Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules. Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.

The most common kinds of breast cancer are:

  • Invasive ductal carcinoma. The cancer cells begin in the ducts and then grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma. Cancer cells begin in the lobules and then spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are close by. These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.

There are several other less common kinds of breast cancer, such as Paget’s disease,external icon medullary, mucinous, and inflammatory breast cancer.external icon Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a breast disease that may lead to invasive breast cancer. The cancer cells are only in the lining of the ducts, and have not spread to other tissues in the breast.

Source: Centers for Disease Control - What Is Breast Cancer?

Helpful Websites

Podcasts Podcast podcasts offer unique insights on prevention, treatment, research, and other breast cancer topics from our medical experts and invited guests.

Investigating Breast Cancer with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Investigating Breast Cancer examines the latest in breast cancer news with the most respected minds in science. The series contains insightful conversations with BCRF's scientific leadership and features experts that are taking part in groundbreaking science every day.

Real Pink with Susan G. Komen

Real Pink is taking real conversations about breast cancer from the doctor's office to the living room. Hosted by Adam Walker, episodes feature candid conversations with survivors, researchers, physicians, and more. Find answers to your toughest questions and clear, actionable steps to live a better life, longer.


For more recommended podcasts, see our Cancer Basics InfoGuide.

Breast Cancer Support Group

Breast Cancer - Beginning the Journey to Wellness

This group provides a safe place for those living with breast cancer to exchange information and provide mutual support. Tools to manage life more effectively during and after breast cancer treatment will be introduced.

Schedule: 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

This program is offered free-of-charge. All support groups are facilitated by professional staff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, support groups are currently meeting online via Zoom. For more information including how to register, see the Cancer Center calendar or email Rosario Campuzano-Cortez at

Supportive Care Programs at the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center

The Oncology Dietitian Nutritionists at the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provide evidence-based recommendations that are proven by scientific research and clinical experience. Education and support are provided to help prevent treatment delays and decrease side effects from treatment. Once treatment for cancer is complete, our nutrition experts can recommend personalized food choices that will support treatment outcomes, enhance the quality of life, and decrease the risk of disease recurrence. Monthly seminars provide an opportunity to discuss the most recent research related to cancer, foods and your lifestyle. Services are offered free-of-charge to individuals currently in treatment or within one year of their last treatment.

For more information, visit the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center website or call (805) 879-5652. 

The Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provides Patient Navigation services in order to assist patients on the journey to live with, through, and beyond cancer. Navigators serve as a liaison between individual patients and the various healthcare providers required for proper diagnosis, treatment, and disease management.

Navigators offer coordination of care throughout a cancer patient's experience, by:

  • Explaining medical procedures and providing cancer information
  • Ensuring medical appointments are scheduled and kept
  • Coordinating and streamlining insurance information
  • Identifying local resources and appropriate support
  • Enhancing communication between care providers

Navigation is available per physician referral and is offered free-of-charge. For more information, contact the Patient Navigation department at (805) 879-0660 or

At the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center’s Resource Library, we aim to empower anyone touched by cancer with the knowledge they need to become well-informed partners in their healthcare. The Resource Library offers a comfortable place where patients and families can find current, comprehensive information about all aspects of cancer. Services include research assistance, a lending library and online information guides. The Resource Library is open to all and services are offered at no charge.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Resource Library is currently closed to visitors. Library materials and services are still available via mail, phone and email. For more information, visit the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center website or contact the Resource Library at (805) 879-5648 or

Cancer can involve significant psychological, social, and economic challenges for patients and their families. How and if these challenges are addressed is an important aspect of a patient’s care plan. The Ridley-Tree Cancer Center employs clinical social workers who provide emotional and practical support for patients, their families, and their friends. Oncology Social Workers can provide advocacy and referrals as well as individual and family counseling services.

Services are available at no cost and are available to anyone in our community, regardless of where they are receiving medical care. 

For more information, visit the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center website or call (805) 879-5690.  

A wide range of wellness activities, classes and programs are available to our patients and their caregivers. Programs include yoga, exercise programs, painting, flower arranging, meditation and more. Upcoming dates can be found on the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center online calendar.

Programs offered free-of-charge. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Wellness classes are currently being offered online via Zoom. For more information including who qualifies for Ridley-Tree Cancer Center Wellness Programs & Classes and class descriptions, visit the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center website or call (805) 879-5678. 

Santa Barbara Breast Care Alliance

The Santa Barbara Breast Care Alliance is a collaborative group of breast care experts who work together seamlessly to provide comprehensive and compassionate care for those with breast health concerns.

Our team approach has been designed with our patients in mind, providing expert specialty care from a highly qualified group of physicians, and additional support from other health care providers and a variety of special programs. If you live in the Central Coast area and you have a diagnosis of or concerns about breast cancer, we're here to help.

Contact us at or (805) 879-0660.

Santa Barbara Community Resources

The Breast Cancer Resource Center is a Santa Barbara non-profit organization that offers peer-counseling, support groups, a buddy-mentor program, private sexuality and intimacy counseling services, a lending library, lecture series, and a suite of complementary and integrative therapy services such as reiki, reflexology, and meditation. All services and programs are provided at no charge. For more information, call (805) 569-9693.

Location: 55 Hitchcock Way, Suite 101, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Books at the Resource Library

These are just a few highlights from the Resource Library collection. Please click here to view our online catalog. For more information about the Resource Library and how to borrow materials, visit our website

ASCO Answers: Breast Cancer
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Available in print at the Resource Library and as a downloadable PDF.

The booklet provides information about diagnosis, treatment, and side effects in a conversational tone and a reassuring look and feel to give patients and their caregivers the tools and resources they need to become active participants in their cancer care. Each section of this comprehensive guide also contains questions patients can ask their health care team, as well as space to write down the answers and make other notes. In addition, there are check boxes to help patients keep track of the tests, procedures, and treatments they will be receiving.


For Caregivers and Partners


Frankly Speaking About Cancer: When a Woman You Care About Has Breast Cancer
Cancer Support Community
Available in print at the Resource Library and as a downloadable PDF.


Resources provided by the Cancer Resource Library are for informational purposes only. The information in these materials may or may not apply to your specific condition, and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider to review anything you learn through these resources.

Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provides comprehensive cancer treatment and support programs for patients and families. We are recognized for medical excellence, a strong clinical research program, and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention.

Cancer Resource Library | 540 West Pueblo Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105 | (805) 563-5807 | |