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I have been diagnosed with breast cancer

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This page contains information for those who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer including treatments what what will happen.

What is Breast Cancer?

There are many different types of breast cancer including invasive cancer and preinvasive breast cancer known as DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ).

Patients will need different treatments depending on the type of breast cancer that they have.

Facing breast cancer

Treating DCIS


What will happen?

You will meet with a specialist to confirm your cancer diagnosis.

The specialist works as part of a multidisciplinary team (MDT) of cancer specialists who will help plan your treatment with you.

You will meet a specialist breast care nurse who will be your keyworker during your diagnosis and treatment.

What treatment will I have?

There are many different treatments for breast cancer. You will be advised by your specialist team what the best treatments options are for you and have the opportunity to discuss them in detail.

These may include:

Breast Surgery

A wide local excision operation removes just the cancerous area with a small rim of normal breast tissue. The breast is often treated with radiotherapy after a wide local excision. Sometimes this operation can be combined with a breast reduction (known as a therapeutic mammoplasty).

A mastectomy removes all of the breast tissue from one side of the chest. A breast reconstruction can be performed at the same operation or at a later date after other treatments have been given.

Breast reconstruction can be done using silicone implants or tissue moved from other parts of the body such as the back called an LD (latissimus dorsi) flap or the abdomen (a DIEP or TRAM flap).

Lymph node surgery

Patients with an invasive cancer may have surgery to check the lymph nodes as part of their treatment.

Sentinel node biopsy – An operation to remove one to four lymph nodes from the armpit. An injection of isotope and blue dye is used to target the first lymph nodes the breast cancer would spread to. These lymph nodes can be tested during the operation and if necessary further lymph nodes can be removed.

Axillary node clearance – This operation removes all of the lymph nodes from underneath the arm to check for cancer spread.


Using drugs that kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is given at the Linda McCartney Centre by the team from Clatterbridge Cancer centre. Chemotherapy can be used before or after surgery.


Using X-ray radiation to destroy cancer cells. Radiotherapy is given at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre based at Aintree hospital.

Targeted therapies

Treatments such as Trastuzumab (Herceptin) and Pertuzumab (Perjeta) are used to treat some breast cancers. This is usually in combination with chemotherapy. All cancers are tested to see if they are suitable for this treatment.

Hormone therapies

Some breast cancers are sensitive to oestrogen. Drugs that block oestrogen (Tamoxifen, Anastrazole, Letrozole, Exemastane, Fasolodex, Zoladex) are commonly used to treat some breast cancers. This may be before or after surgical treatment. For patients who cannot have surgery these drugs can sometimes be used to keep cancers under control.

We are a leading clinical research unit and many of our patients are offered entry into a clinical trial as part of their treatment. This may mean they have early access to new treatments. Evidence shows that patients who enter clinical trials often have a better outcome.

Bone Therapy

Some patients with hormone sensitive breast cancer may benefit from injections of a bone treatment called bisphosphonates. This treatment is managed by the oncology team from Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.