Adjuvant breast cancer treatments

Adjuvant breast cancer treatments are treatments for breast cancer in addition to surgery. Before any treatment is started, your overall treatment plan will be outlined to you. Sometimes, the full recommendations for additional treatments cannot be made until the results of surgery are available.

Adjuvant treatments that may be discussed with you include:

Endocrine treatment – If your cancer carries the Oestrogen receptor, you will be recommended to take an anti-oestrogen tablet once-daily for 5-10 years. The choice of tablet will be made between you and your surgeon or oncologist. The tablets most commonly used are:

If you are pre-menopausal, your oncologist might discuss treatments to stop your periods:


Radiotherapy – this is X-ray treatment that is given to the breast (after wide local excision), the chest wall (after mastectomy) or to the lymph node areas of the low neck. The initial consultation would be in the Churchill unit at Royal Bolton Hospital with the Christie Oncology team  Dr C Anandadas. The radiotherapy treatment is delivered at Royal Oldham Hospital, the Christie Hospital or Salford Royal Hospital. You are asked which unit you would like to receive your treatment at. Further information about radiotherapy can be found here: Radiotherapy


Chemotherapy – this may be recommended before or after surgery. The initial consultation would be in the Churchill Unit at Royal Bolton Hospital with the Christie Oncology team Dr Richard Welch The majority of chemotherapy treatments are delivered as an outpatient in the Churchill Unit. For some of the treatments, you may need to attend the Christie Hospital as an out-patient. Further information about chemotherapy can be found here: Chemotherapy


Trastuzumab (Brand name: Herceptin) – this is a drug that is given alongside chemotherapy. It will be discussed with you by your Oncologist if your tumour carries the Her 2 receptor. Treatment is managed by the Herceptin Team at the Christie Hospital. You may receive this treatment on the Churchill Oncology Unit at the Royal Bolton Hospital, or closer to your home by the Home Care Team from the Christie. Further information about Trastuzumab is available here: Trastuzumab (Herceptin)


Bisphosphonates – This is a medication that is given to some post-menopausal women to decrease the risk of breast cancer returning in the bones and other parts of the body. It is given as a drip in to your arm every six months. The total duration of treatment is usually three years. Further information can be found here: Bisphosphonates