Breast cancer

Surgery

The first step in the treatment of early breast cancer is usually surgery to remove the cancer from the breast.

Subsequent treatments are then given as needed to reduce the risk of recurrence. In some cases chemotherapy is given before surgery to shrink the tumour.

The aims of surgery are:

  • To remove the tumour safely
  • To maximise the control of the disease in the breast
  • To obtain tissue for testing, in order to make an accurate diagnosis and plan appropriate treatment.
  • To achieve a good cosmetic result and optimise quality of life

Depending on the size and location of your tumour, your surgeon may recommend either breast conserving surgery (otherwise known as lumpectomy, partial mastectomy, or wide local excision) or mastectomy (removal of the whole breast). In some cases, women may be able to choose which option is preferable for them.

To help you make decisions about what kind of surgery to have, use our surgery decision chart.

To find out more about your surgery options click on the links below.