Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Sweden, accounting for about 30% of all female cancer cases. Breast cancer care has a long history at Karolinska with pioneers such as Sixten Franzén, who, among others, developed the technique of aspiration cytology. Karolinska has been the home of Sweden’s first oncological clinic, Radiumhemmet, since 1938.
The Karolinska Breast Cancer Center is a multidisciplinary collaboration among oncologists, surgeons, mammography radiologists, pathologists/cytologists, contact nurses, geneticists, genetic counselors, physiotherapists, fertility experts, social workers, and many more.
We treat about 600 new breast cancer patients yearly. Our extensive experience and excellent cooperation among different specialties and care units enable us to provide high-quality examinations, treatments, care, and nursing. Our goal is to diagnose and treat each patient based on their unique condition and to focus on precision medicine.
The data is updated approximately every quarter and covers the last 12 months. Data provided by PREM, read more about PREM here.
Breast cancer can appear as a lump in the breast or armpit, as a change in the size, shape, or appearance of a breast, as nipple retraction or discharge, as a redness of the skin, or as dimpling (orange-peel-like skin). At the very early stage, breast cancer does not cause any symptoms at all, which is why bi-annual mammography screening is offered to all Swedish women between 40 and 74 years of age. About 50% of our patients are diagnosed after a symptom, the others are detected through screening.
The diagnostic process starts with mammography and ultrasound; a tissue biopsy is taken in cases of a suspicious malignancy. Patients get the results of their examinations at the outpatient clinic, where they meet a surgeon and a contact nurse. All cases are discussed at a multidisciplinary team meeting where primary treatment is recommended (surgery or medical treatment first).
We are a full-service center and offer the combined expertise of several specialists. Around 900 breast surgeries are performed annually, and about 75% of them are breast-conserving procedures (91% for invasive tumors under 3 cm). We have a high rate of primary breast reconstructions in women having a mastectomy (30% at Karolinska compared to 13% in Sweden overall), and we have a high rate of primary systemic chemotherapy (about 30% compared to 15% in Sweden overall). The 5-year observed survival among our patients having breast cancer diagnosed at Karolinska in 2017-2021 was 87% compared to 84% in the rest of Sweden. Any participation in clinical studies is carried out in collaboration with our clinical trial unit and research nurses.