Access other websites and find out about books and articles on treatment choices
Read stories about how other women have dealt with their post-operative treatment including chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

The National Breast Cancer Centre is the most accurate source of information about all aspects of breast cancer in Australia. The Centre publishes evidence-based information about breast cancer treatments.




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Post-operative treatment
If you have had breast conserving treatment you will need to have radiation therapy. In some circumstances, you may also require radiation therapy after a mastectomy.
Whichever operation you have, you may be advised by your specialist to have additional treatment after your operation and radiation therapy. This treatment is called adjuvant therapy and is used either to destroy any cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body or to reduce the risk of this occurring.
Adjuvant therapy is usually only offered to women who are considered to have a moderate or higher chance of their cancer coming back after surgery. You may have only one type of additional therapy or may have more than one.

There are three main types of adjuvant therapy:

There are often clinical trails running to test new treatments. Your doctor may recommend you register for one of these.

Key Points

  • you may have different therapies depending on whether you are pre or post-menopausal. Normally Tamoxifen is given only to post-menopausal women
  • if you want to become pregnant normally you would not start taking Tamoxifen
  • if your cancer cells are receptor positive (are sensitive to oestrogen) you will normally have either ovarian treatment (pre-menopausal) or Tamoxifen (post-menopausal)
  • chemotherapy is normally recommended if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and is oestrogen negative
  • if your cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and your cancer cells are oestrogen positive, the specialist may recommend that you have chemotherapy as well as Tamoxifen. You should seek to understand the reason for this.
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