Treatment Options

What is the treatment for breast cancer?

Treatment depends on your type of breast cancer. In general:

  • Most women will have some type of surgery to remove their cancer.
  • A combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy (chemo), hormone therapy and/or targeted therapy is usually used to treat invasive breast cancer.
    • Sometimes, patients with large tumors will need chemo or hormone therapy before surgery to shrink the tumor. This is called neoadjuvant therapy.
    • In most cases, a combination of chemo, hormone therapy and/or targeted therapy follows breast surgery to make sure the cancer is completely gone. This is called adjuvant therapy.
    • The kind of adjuvant therapy you will need depends on several things:
      • Tumor size
      • Lymph node status
      • Tumor characteristics, including hormone receptor status and HER2 status
      • Whether or not you have gone through menopause
  • Metastatic breast cancer cannot be cured but chemo and radiation therapy can be used to shrink or slow the growth of tumors. These treatments can also ease symptoms of the cancer itself. Since these treatments may affect quality of life, it is important to think about which treatments are best for you.