Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Breast cancer often uses different combinations of treatment.

Breast cancer often uses different combinations of treatment.
beginning of content

Breast cancer treatment

It’s normal to feel shocked and to experience a range of emotions when first diagnosed with breast cancer but there are many treatment options now available so that breast cancer can be successfully treated.

The type of treatment for breast cancer depends on:

  • the type of breast cancer
  • the stage of breast cancer
  • whether breast cancer cells are positive for receptors, such as hormone receptors or HER2
  • where breast cancer is in the body
  • whether the woman has had breast cancer before and if so, what treatments she received
  • the woman’s age and general health
  • the woman’s preference.

Treatment options

Surgery

Breast conserving surgery involves removing the cancer and some healthy tissue from the breast while keeping the breast intact. A mastectomy involves removing the whole breast affected by the cancer. During breast surgery one or more lymph nodes are usually removed from the arm

Radiotherapy

Radiation is used to destroy any breast cancer cells left in the breast or breast tissue after surgery. Treatment usually is given over 5-6 weeks. Radiation therapy can also be used to reduce the size of the cancer before surgery and to relieve pain or other symptoms.

Chemotherapy

Anti-cancer drugs are given intravenously or orally to help destroy cancer cells that may have spread to other areas of the body undetected. It may be used in addition to surgery and radiation therapy.

Hormonal therapy

Hormonal therapy may be used to destroy remaining breast cancer cells or cancer cells that may have spread undetected. This drug treatment is used if the cancer cells are hormone-receptive.

Cancer Council Australia can provide more information on cancer treatments through their website at www.cancer.org.au. They also offer support for you and your loved ones via their helpline on 13 11 20.

Last reviewed: August 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 715 results

Hormonal therapies | Cancer Australia

Hormonal therapies are treatments for women who have hormone receptors on their breast cancer cells.

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Anxiety, depression and breast cancer

Anxiety and depression are common in women with breast cancer, but they are often overlooked and, therefore, undertreated.

Read more on beyondblue website

Types of hormonal therapy | Cancer Australia

There are different types of hormonal therapy for breast cancer. The type of hormonal therapy recommended for women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer depends on whether the woman has reached menopause

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Menopause and breast cancer information video | myVMC

Hormone therapy (HRT) with oestrogens and progesterones treats menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, but may increase breast cancer risk.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Deciding about hormonal therapies | Cancer Australia

When deciding about hormonal therapies its important to consider the likely benefits and possible side effects of the different treatments.

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Breast Cancer Treatment - Targeting Cancer

Learn more about breast cancer and the treatments available.

Read more on Radiation Oncology Targeting Cancer website

Breast cancer treatment | Cancer Australia

This section provides an overview of treatment options for breast cancer.

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Navelbine | myVMC

Navelbine is a medicine used to treat advanced breast cancer which has not been cured by other medicines. It contains vinorelbine tartrate.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Treatment options for early breast cancer | Cancer Australia

The aim of treatment for early breast cancer is to remove the breast cancer and any cancer cells that may be left in the breast, armpit or other parts of the body but cannot be detected.

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Sexuality following breast cancer treatment | myVMC

Sexuality following breast cancer treatment: Breast cancer treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can have lasting physical and emotional effects on a woman and her family. The issue of sexuality following breast cancer treatment is often neglected, but can have a significant impact on a woman's quality of life.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback