Breast Cancer Treatments

Cancer treatment

The Breast Cancer Journey

On this page
  • The breast cancer journey
  • Patient Resource Handout
  • 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 BreastCancer.org 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 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.

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News & Events

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Island Health Magazine Spring 2021

Island Health magazine spring 2021 features articles on COVID-19 including a look back at the past year. Also included are articles on the health benefits of spending time in nature, memory loss and aging, and a moving article about one family’s journey with hospice care.

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Currents Winter 2021

Currents Winter 2021

Read vaccination stories, updates on the Cowichan District Hospital build and more, in the latest edition of Currents!

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B.C. Honours Excellence in Nursing

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

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