Treatment for breast cancer

Treatment for breast cancer depends on several factors. These include where your cancer is, how big it is, whether the cancer cells have certain proteins (receptors), and your general health. A team of doctors and other professionals decide on the best treatment and care for you.

Surgery is often the first treatment for breast cancer. Other common treatments include radiotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and targeted drugs. 

Treatment options for breast cancer

The main treatments for breast cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy. Your treatment depends on a number of factors such as how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. 

Surgery for breast cancer

Most people begin their breast cancer treatment with surgery. Find out about the different types of surgery for breast cancer, how to prepare for your operation, and how to recover well.

Radiotherapy for breast cancer

Radiotherapy is a common treatment for breast cancer. It uses high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. 

Chemotherapy for breast cancer

Chemotherapy uses anti cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. The drugs circulate throughout the body in the bloodstream. It is a common treatment for breast cancer. 

Hormone therapy for breast cancer

Hormones can stimulate breast cancer cells to grow. Hormone therapy can block or lower the amount of hormones in the body. There are a number of different types of hormone therapy for breast cancer. One of the most common types is tamoxifen.

Targeted and immunotherapy drugs for breast cancer

Targeted cancer drugs work by targeting the differences in cancer cells that help them to grow and survive. Immunotherapy uses our immune system to fight cancer. Find out about having targeted drugs and immunotherapy for breast cancer.

Follow up after breast cancer treatment

You may have regular follow up after your treatment for breast cancer. This is to check how you are and see whether you have any problems or concerns. In some hospitals, you can arrange follow up appointments when you need them. 

Treatment if your breast cancer comes back

Sometimes breast cancer comes back after having treatment to try to cure it. This is recurrent or relapsed breast cancer. Find out about symptoms and treatment.

Treating symptoms of breast cancer

Breast cancer can affect you in different ways. Read about controlling symptoms of breast cancer and who can help. 

Last reviewed: 
28 Jun 2023
Next review due: 
28 Jun 2026