The Breast Cancer Journey
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.
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 kit online via the BCCA website: Breast Cancer Information Kit
- 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. 5th ed.
This book can be borrowed from the BC Cancer Agency Library and other public libraries within B.C. and the Yukon. Written by local experts this guide can also be purchased from the publisher, local bookstores or through online booksellers.
Other resources available for those newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
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
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.