Shannon Tierney
Shannon N Tierney, MD, MS

Shannon N Tierney, MD, MS

Shannon N Tierney, MD, MS
Specialty

Breast Surgery

Clinical Interests / Special Procedures Performed

Bloodless Breast Surgery, Breast Aspiration, Breast Biopsy, Breast Cancer, Breast Disorders, Breast Feeding, Breast Imaging, Breast Pathology, Breast Surgery, Cancer Institute, Cancer Screening, Cancer Surgery, Evidence-Based Health Care, Fine Needle Aspiration, Integrative Medicine, Lactation, Limited to Breast Surgery, Mammosite, Oncologic Surgery, Practice Limited to Breast Cancer, Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy, Swedish Cancer Institute, Vascular Access

  • Accepting Children: Yes
  • Accepting New Patients: Yes
  • Accepting Medicare: Yes
  • Accepting Medicaid/DSHS: Yes
Payment Methods Accepted:

Medicare, Medicaid/DSHS, Bill Insurance, VISA, Cash, Check, American Express, Discover Card, Money Order

Insurance Accepted:

Contact this office for accepted insurance plans.

Additional Information:

* Master's degree: Health Evaluation Sciences, University of Virginia * Research fellow, Surgical Infectious Diseases Reseach Laboratory, University of Virginia Health System Member, American Society of Breast Surgeons Member, Association of Women Surgeons Member, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Member, Society of Surgical Oncology Awards: * NIH LRP Grant, 2005 and 2006 * Surgical Infection Society Clinical Research Grant, 2003 and 2004 * Dion Award for Intern of the Year, University of Virginia, 2002 * Harvey C. Butcher Award in General Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, 2001

Philosophy of Care

I choose to approach the diagnosis and management of breast disease as part of a multidisciplinary team, in partnership with an informed patient. My role is to educate the patient on all her options and help her make decisions that reflect her priorities. My special interests include • young and high-risk patients • male breast cancer • the interplay of breast cancer with lactation and pregnancy • surgical approaches which maximize the cosmetic appearance of the breast and, in younger women, preserve the ability to breastfeed • skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomies when appropriate for the patient

Medical School

Washington University School of Medicine; St. Louis, Missouri

Residency

University of Virginia Health System; Charlottesville, Virginia

Fellowship(s)

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; New York, New York

Board Certifications

General Surgery, 2009

Additional Information:

* Master's degree: Health Evaluation Sciences, University of Virginia * Research fellow, Surgical Infectious Diseases Reseach Laboratory, University of Virginia Health System Member, American Society of Breast Surgeons Member, Association of Women Surgeons Member, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Member, Society of Surgical Oncology Awards: * NIH LRP Grant, 2005 and 2006 * Surgical Infection Society Clinical Research Grant, 2003 and 2004 * Dion Award for Intern of the Year, University of Virginia, 2002 * Harvey C. Butcher Award in General Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, 2001

Breast cancer awareness is about information, not a color

In recent years, the colors of October seem to have changed from red, orange, and gold to pink, pink and more pink. I have always loved pink, well before becoming a breast cancer surgeon, but like many of us, I find the pink of October overwhelming, especially at this point in the month.

I appreciate and endorse the continued focus on breast cancer, but often the important information is drowned out by the rah-rah-rah of the awareness campaigns. Many women (and men) are “aware” of breast cancer, but never truly become aware of what it really is, what it really means, until they find themselves dealing with the cold terror of a palpable mass or a call-back after mammogram. They need information, not just pink blenders. 

Breast cancer is ...

Do Docs Miss Breast Cancer Warning Signs in Breastfeeding Mothers?

In the haze of joy and sleeplessness during the months after childbirth, thoughts about breast cancer are the last thing on a new mother’s mind. Her body is undergoing so many changes that, of course, she and her doctors would naturally assume any breast changes are related to breastfeeding.

Probably, they are. However, there is a small but real incidence of women who develop breast cancer during and following pregnancy. Often, they end up having delays in seeking evaluation and getting a diagnosis, because they or their doctors may not appreciate that risk!

So, what things should prompt an evaluation?

  • Lumps most often will be changes in the breast tissue as it revs up milk production. A distinct lump or “dominant mass” could be a clogged duct, galactocele, cyst or a common benign tumor called a fibroadenoma, but if it doesn’t resolve within a few weeks with treatment, it needs imaging.
  • Redness most often will represent infections like mastitis or an abscess, but if it doesn’t resolve within a few weeks with treatment, it will also need imaging and possibly a biopsy. At the very least, that could determine if the right antibiotics are being used. An uncommon form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer can present this way.
  • Bloody milk or baby refusing one breast  most often will be due to nipple trauma, latch issues, or positioning; if so, seeing a board-certified lactation consultant is appropriate. But rarely, this can represent a form of breast cancer within the milk ducts.
  • “Something’s not right”. You are the most knowledgeable person about your own breasts. Even if it doesn’t neatly fit one of the categories above, if something really seems wrong to you, your doctors should take that seriously.

What evaluation should be done?


Becoming a Breast Surgeon

Surgeons are often Type A personalities, the ones who sit in the front of the class, who volunteer for everything, who stay scrubbed in the OR all day with appendicitis and do a post-op check before checking themselves into the emergency department (yes, that was me.) As such, surgeons are often dismissive of the subspecialty of breast surgery. The surgeries are not as complex as cardiac bypass surgery or Whipple procedures for pancreatic cancer. In fact, it’s often a rotation for interns. I was a Type A personality. I had no plans to do breast surgery.

Then, a funny thing happened. I had my first son during residency. Planned with military precision, of course, to coincide with the beginning of my designated research years, as I had hoped to squeeze another baby in there somewhere. After his birth, I would breastfeed, because that is what Type A mothers do these days. It’s the best! Of course, I would do the best! However, like many mothers out there, we had an incredibly rocky start. Poor latch with inadequate weight gain. Triple feeding with pumped milk. Cracked nipples leading to mastitis. As a Type A person, I threw myself into research in an effort to solve the problems. Not just the many, many baby books out there, but Medline searches on breastfeeding management. I learned more than I ever had in my surgery textbooks about the breast, the physiology of lactation that is both incredibly simple and enormously complex, and most importantly, miraculous. I was reminded constantly in my reading of the importance of preserving this ability to breastfeed my son, for his and my health, and how challenging that could be.

I would sit in my office, working on surgical infections research, as I pumped and read about normal breasts and infected breasts and cancerous breasts. Antibiotic rotations in ICUs and glucose control became less exciting than being able to offer targeted medical advice to a frustrated friend in Boston, whose refractory mastitis was being met with shrugs from some of her local doctors until we correctly identified MRSA as the source. Maybe it wasn’t saving lives, but it saved her breastfeeding relationship with her child. Who knows, maybe in the end it would be saving lives! I read more ....

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Offices

True Family Women's Cancer Center
1221 Madison St.
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 1-(855)-TRUECTR (1-855-8783287) or (206) 215-5900
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