Diffuse optical tomography (DOT) has been employed to derive spatial maps of physiologically important chromophores in the human breast, but the fidelity of these images is often compromised by boundary effects such as those due to the chest wall. We explore the image quality in fast, data-intensive analytic and algebraic linear DOT reconstructions of phantoms with subcentimeter target features and large absorptive regions mimicking the chest wall. Experiments demonstrate that the chest wall phantom can introduce severe image artifacts. We then show how these artifacts can be mitigated by exclusion of data affected by the chest wall. We also introduce and demonstrate a linear algebraic reconstruction method well suited for very large data sets in the presence of a chest wall.