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There are many types of early breast cancer and different treatments work best for different types. Each treatment has benefits but also side effects. Therefore, each woman’s treatment is carefully tailored to best match her breast cancer and situation. This gives her the best possible chance of beating the disease.
Most women with early breast cancer will have more than one treatment and options may include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy. The order in which these are given can differ.
Your breast care unit will recommend the best treatments for you based on the type of breast cancer you have. To do this, they will run tests on your breast cancer to learn as much as possible about its characteristics. These tests determine:
- The type of breast cancer you have
- Your tumour’s size, whether it has spread into nearby tissues in the breast and armpit, and/or how fast it is growing – known as staging and grading
- Whether the cells have specific markers on their surface, which helps to see which treatments will work best – known as receptor testing
Your own circumstances and preferences are also very important in helping to determine the best treatment options for you. Your doctor and breast care nurse will discuss with you the results of your tests and their recommendations for your treatment. They will talk you through any choices there might be for you to make about your care and can help you to make these decisions.
Our page on treating early breast cancer looks at the different treatment options available.
Information last reviewed: 9 November 2012