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Breast Cancer: Treatment Options

Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death in women. Fortunately, breast cancer is highly treatable if found in its early stages. Screening, including an annual mammogram, is the key to early detection. Your treatment options will depend on the stage and type of breast cancer.

Dignity Health offers complete breast cancer treatment in the Bay Area, providing care with humankindness every step of the way. Our highly trained oncologists will help determine the best treatment for your unique needs. Find a Doctor online today.

Breast Cancer Surgery

Surgery is the primary treatment for most cases of breast cancer. Your stage of cancer will determine how extensive the surgery needs to be. There are two basic types of surgery. Lumpectomy removes the tumor and some of the nearby normal tissue. Mastectomy removes the entire breast.

Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Chemotherapy kills cancer cells or stops them from growing. It can be used by doctors:

  • Before surgery
  • After surgery
  • As a primary treatment when surgery isn’t an option
  • In combination with radiation

Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

Radiation therapy helps shrink tumors and kill any remaining cancer cells. Like chemotherapy, radiation therapy may be necessary either before or after surgery or as a primary treatment when surgery is not an option. It can also be used to treat cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and to relieve advanced stage breast cancer symptoms.

Hormone Therapy for Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer

Hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancers grow in response to estrogen and progesterone. Hormone therapy works by reducing hormone levels or blocking the hormone receptor on the cancer cell. Without the influence of hormones, the growth of the tumor slows or stops.

Targeted Therapy for Breast Cancer

Targeted therapies use protein markers present only on cancer cells to identify and attack those cells. Sometimes, these therapies work when traditional chemotherapy does not. Targeted therapies can be used to treat HER2-positive breast cancers and hormone receptor-positive breast cancers.

Considering Your Treatment Options

Our hospitals and cancer care centers are committed to offering our patients the latest breast cancer treatments. The best treatment for you will depend on your stage of the cancer, the tumor’s characteristics from your biopsy results, and your individual preferences. Talk with your cancer care team about the benefits, goals, and side effects of each of your options.