Breast Cancer Treatments

Cancer treatment

The Breast Cancer Journey

On this page
  • The breast cancer journey
  • Breast cancer information kit
  • Breast surgery and breast reconstruction patient information booklets
  • Your cancer care team
  • Tumor Tissue Repository 
  • Vancouver Island Cancer Centre

Breast cancer is treated by a team of experts who use a combination of surgery and/or adjuvant therapy (radiation, chemotherapy and/or hormonal treatment) to treat your cancer. In over 90% of cases, the first step in treating breast cancer is to surgically remove the cancerous tissues and some lymph nodes in the armpit (axillary dissection). The other 10% start treatment with chemotherapy or radiation.

Surgery for Breast Cancer

At Island Health, surgery for breast cancer is performed by general surgeons at the following hospitals:

Breast reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is performed by plastic surgeons in Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River.

For Information on Breast Reconstruction see the website

Radiation treatments 

Radiation treatments are provided at the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre in Victoria. Chemotherapy can be given in most communities across the island through the BC Cancer Agency's Communities Oncology Network.

The treatment that will be recommended for you will depend on the type and extent of your cancer, your ability to tolerate the treatments, and your preferences. Your role is to learn about your disease and treatment options available, to discuss your needs with your doctors, family and friends, and to make decisions that are right for you.

Breast Cancer Information Kit

Now available online only

The Breast Cancer Information Kit provides answers to common questions and steers you, your family and friends to critical resources that will help throughout your cancer journey. It is the best place to begin learning about breast cancer, surgery, treatment options and support services.

You can access the Breast Cancer Information Kit online via the BCCA website.

Resources include
  • Breast Cancer Companion Guide
    • This is the navigation tool for the Kit, it directs you to information needed at each step of the journey.
  • After Breast Cancer Treatment  - What Next?
    • This pamphlet identifies issues and emotions that you may experience after treatment ends.  
  • A Parallel Journey
    • A booklet for partners and/or support persons.
  • Nutrition Guide For Women with Breast Cancer 
  • Exercises After Breast Surgery
    • This Canadian Cancer Society booklet provides useful exercises for Women who have undergone breast cancer surgery. 
  • Intelligent Patient Guide to Breast Cancer. 6th ed.

Breast Surgery and Breast Reconstruction Patient Information Booklets

Patient Information booklets are available for those having surgery for breast cancer at the Victoria General, Royal Jubilee, and Saanich Peninsula hospitals. They are the "how to manual" for preparing for, and recovering from, breast surgery.

The appropriate booklet, along with a post-breast surgery comfort pillow (where appropriate), is mailed to you prior to surgery by the Breast Health Patient Navigator.

You can download any of the breast surgery booklets here

Getting Ready for Breast Surgery

Getting Ready for Tissue Expansion Reconstruction Surgery 

Getting Ready for DIEP Flap Reconstruction

Vancouver Island Cancer Centre

The Vancouver Island Cancer Centre, located in Victoria, BC, is one of four cancer centres that make up the BC Cancer Agency. Part of the mission of the Agency is to improve the quality of life for people with cancer.

At the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre, there are doctors, nurses, radiation therapists, physicists, nutritionists, social workers, pharmacists, clerks, patient information personnel and administrative people who are committed to the mission of the BC Cancer Agency.

Prepare for a first visit at the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre

Cancer services on Vancouver Island

Your Cancer Care Team

Your cancer care team is a group of health care professionals who assist you through your journey with breast cancer. Depending on your individual needs, your cancer care team may include the following: family doctor, radiologist, general surgeon, breast health patient navigator, pathologist, nurses, physiotherapists, nutritionist, counsellors, plastic surgeon, medical oncologists or radiation oncologist.

Tumour Tissue Repository

If you are having surgery at the Royal Jubilee or Victoria General Hospitals, your surgeon may ask if you wish to donate your tissue and a blood sample to the Tumor Tissue Repository (TTR) at the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre.

If you are interested, your name will be forwarded to the TTR nurse, who will contact you, explain the program and set up a time for an interview.

If you would like more information, you may contact the TTR nurse directly by email or phone (250) 519-5713.



News & Events

B.C. Honours Excellence in Nursing

Several Island Health nurses have been honoured in this year's Nursing Awards of Excellence.

Read more

covid tips

Island Health Magazine Fall 2020

This issue offers COVID-19 safety tips, an article about prescribed opioid use, an introduction to Dawn Thomas, our new VP for Indigenous Health & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the first in our series from Public Health on Climate Change and much more.

Read more

Urgent and primary care centre coming to Esquimalt

People living in Esquimalt and neighbouring communities will soon have better access to team-based everyday health care with planning for an urgent and primary care centre.

Read more