Oestrogen Receptor Positive Women (ER +ve)

  • Premenopausal women should be offered Tamoxifen
  • Post-menopausal women should be offered an aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole, exemestane or letrozole)


HER2 Positive Women (HER2 +ve)

  • Should be offered trastuzumab (Herceptin), a monoclonal antibody (biological therapy) that disrupts the HER2 receptor
  • Given every 3 weeks for 1 year following initial treatment
  • Impacts heart function, therefore initial and close monitoring of heart function essential
  • Contraindicated in women with congestive heart failure and certain heart conditions
  • Common side effects: Diarrhoea, tumour pain, headaches.



  • Chemotherapy guided by oncologists
  • Used in one of three scenarios:
    • Neoadjuvant therapy – intended to shrink the tumour prior to surgery
    • Adjuvant chemotherapy – after the surgery to reduce recurrence
    • For treatment or control of metastatic or recurrent breast cancer
  • Usually around three agents used concurrently
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