Surgery is one of the main treatments for breast cancer. The type of surgery you have depends on the stage of the cancer and your own preferences. Your surgeon usually tries to keep as much of the breast as possible (breast-conserving surgery), although you may need to have the whole breast removed (mastectomy). You may be asked to decide which operation you have.

The chances of surviving early breast cancer are similar with breast-conserving surgery and radiotherapy, or a mastectomy.

During the operation, your surgeon may remove some or all of the lymph nodes in your armpit to check them for cancer cells. There are different types of lymph node surgery.

If you are having a mastectomy, your surgeon will ask if you want a new breast shape to be made at the same time. This is called breast reconstruction. You may chose not to have this or may want to wait until you’ve finished other cancer treatments.