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.
On Vancouver Island, surgery for breast cancer is performed by general surgeons at the following hospitals: Victoria General, Royal Jubilee, Saanich Peninsula, Lady Minto, Cowichan District, Nanaimo Regional, Westcoast General, St. Joseph's, and Campbell River hospitals. Breast reconstruction is performed by plastic surgeons in Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River.
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.
Back to Top
Every person who is diagnosed with breast cancer in British Columbia and the Yukon are entitled, free of charge, to a Breast Cancer Information Kit. It is the best place to begin learning about breast cancer, surgery, treatment options and support services. In a plastic folder you will receive:
- Breast Cancer Navigation Map-A navigational tool which is the starting point of this kit. The guide interacts with the other resources in the kit and in the community.
- "The Intelligent Patient Guide to Breast Cancer" book, 5th Ed (2011).
- After Breast Cancer Treatment -What Next? -A booklet which identifies the challenges after treatment is completed.
- A Parallel Journey -A booklet for partners and/or support persons.
- A Nutrition Guide For Women with Breast Cancer.
- Exercises After Breast Surgery -This booklet provides a series of exercises for women to do after breast cancer surgery.
- Abreast and the Rest Newsletter -A free quarterly newsletter with articles on new emerging research, personal journeys and healthy living.
The complete kits are available from your surgeon, the Canadian Cancer Society's Cancer Information Service at 1.888.939.3333, hospital pre-admission clinics, and the Breast Health Patient Navigator at the Victoria General Hospital.
Other resources available for those newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
Patient Information booklets are available for those having surgery for breast cancer at the Victoria General, Royal Jubilee, and Saanich Peninsula Hosptials. 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
Learn more about breast reconstruction.
Back to Top
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.
Back to Top