Types of Treatment
The goal of treating early breast cancer is to get rid of the cancer and keep it from coming back.
Together, you and your health care provider make breast cancer treatment decisions.
After you get a recommended treatment plan from your provider, take time to study your treatment options. Talk to those closest to you. Consider getting a second opinion.
Make thoughtful, informed decisions that are best for you. Each treatment option has risks and benefits to consider along with your own values and lifestyle.
Breast cancer treatment can be divided into local therapy and systemic therapy.
Local therapy removes the cancer from a limited (local) area, such as the breast, chest wall and lymph nodes in the underarm area. It also helps ensure the cancer doesn’t come back to that area.
Local therapy involves surgery, with or without radiation therapy to the breast and nearby lymph nodes.
Systemic therapy (adjuvant therapy)
The goal of systemic therapy is to get rid of cancer cells that may have spread from the breast to other parts of the body. These cells are too small to be seen on scans or to be measured with lab tests.
Some drug therapies are given by vein (through an IV) and some are pills.
Because systemic therapy is used in addition to (an adjunct to) breast surgery, these treatments are often called adjuvant therapy.
Learn about factors that affect treatment options.
Learn more about side effects of breast cancer treatments.
Learn about financial issues related to treatment.
Learn more about the importance of following your breast cancer treatment plan.
TOOLS & RESOURCES