Breast cancer treatment

Treatment for early breast cancer aims to remove the cancer and reduce the risk of the cancer spreading or coming back.

Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy and hormone (endocrine) therapy. Usually more than one treatment is used, and treatments can be given in different combinations.

As there are different types of breast cancer, treatment varies from person to person. Your doctors will consider several factors to recommend the most suitable treatment for you.

The choice of treatment will depend on:

  • your test results
  • where the cancer is in the breast
  • whether the cancer has spread
  • whether the cancer is hormone receptor or HER2 positive
  • your age and general health
  • your preferences

Men diagnosed with early breast cancer have similar treatment options to women.

Learn more about:

Making treatment decisions

Sometimes it is difficult to decide on the type of treatment to have. You may feel that everything is happening too fast. Check with your doctor how soon your treatment should start, and take as much time as you can before making a decision.

You have the right to accept or refuse any treatment offered, to ask for more information, or to get a second opinion. In some cases, you may be able to take part in a clinical trial that is testing new or modified treatments.

To find out more about decision-making steps, consent and second opinions, read our page on Making cancer treatment decisions. 

This information was last reviewed in July 2016
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Ask a health professional or someone who’s been there, or find a support group or forum

Work and cancer
Information for employees, employers and workplaces dealing with cancer

Cancer information

Making cancer treatment decisions
Decision-making steps, consent and second opinions

Deciding on specialist care
How to find and choose a surgeon, oncologist or other specialist