Treatment

Breast cancer can be treated in a number of ways, or a combination of:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiography
  • Herceptin (Her2)

Surgery for breast cancer is provided at Antrim Area Hospital or Belfast City Hospital. Chemotherapy for breast cancer can be given at Laurel House at Antrim Area Hospital or the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.  Radiotherapy can only be given at the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

Some cases of breast cancer may also be treated using biological or hormone treatments called Herceptin. These treatments will be discussed with you by your surgeon/and or oncologist and breast care nurse.  You will be given some written and verbal information on your treatment plan if you so wish.

Each person is different and your surgery and/or treatment will be tailored to your needs and discussed fully with you before proceeding. Throughout your care, procedures, surgery and treatments will not be carried out without your consent.

Surgery

Most primary breast cancers will be treated with surgery to remove the tumour.

Types

There are 3 common types of breast cancer surgery:

  • wide local excision/ lumpectomy – removal of a breast lump
  • mastectomy – a removal of a breast (s)
  • breast reconstruction – reconstructive surgery of the breast area

Surgery may also involve the removal of all, or some lymph nodes from the armpit.

For more information on the types of surgery, please visit the types of for breast cancer surgery section on the Macmillan Cancer Support website.  Your breast care nurse will support you throughout your breast cancer surgery or reconstructive surgery.

After treatment

After treatment is completed, patients will have regular check-ups. These are very important for the surgeon or oncologist to monitor patient progress.

Patients should go to their GP for advice if they have a symptom between follow-up visits they cannot explain which last more than a week or is not getting better.

A consultant and/or breast care nurse will explain follow up services to patients after their cancer treatment.  The type of follow up will depend on the individual circumstances of each patient.

Self-directed aftercare

There is a new model of follow up for breast cancer patients which is called ‘self-directed aftercare’.  Once treatment for breast cancer is complete, some patients may be able to take part in supported ‘self-directed aftercare’ arrangements.  This allows individuals to take responsibility for and control of their own healthcare.

A doctor or breast care nurse will discuss this with a patient if it is appropriate.

Living with breast cancer

The impact of breast cancer can affect you both physically and emotionally.

For information on living with cancer, including support groups and wide variety of information and support service options that are local to you, please visit the living with cancer page on this site or Cancer Survivorship Website NI.