Breast Cancer Stages
that the cancer is found in your breast, it is important for your doctor to determine if it has spread to other
tissues or organs of your body such as the lymph nodes in the armpit.
Staging tests – your doctor can base on the same exams performed in the
diagnosis to determine the stage of the cancer. In some cases, however, additional tests are needed. Your doctor
may remove several lymph nodes for microscopic analysis. After removal, the sample will be sent to a pathologist
for microscopic examination to look for signs indicating metastases; in case the test is positive, you are
diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
stage of your breast cancer is very important for your oncologist to determine the type of treatment you must
undergo. Your doctor will base on the stage of the cancer to recommend the treatment the most appropriate and
capable to combat the disease. In general, breast cancer stages include the following:
Breast cancer in situ - this stage of breast cancer is commonly known as stage
0 breast cancer; it represents 20% or less of breast cancers. There are 2 types of breast carcinoma in situ.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ(LCIS) – LCIS is often detected during a mammogram. At this
stage, the tumor is not considered cancerous; the scientists call it carcinoma in situ or stage 0 breast
cancer. However, it is taken into consideration, for those who have lobular carcinoma have up to 25% chance
of developing breast cancer in the next 25 years.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
called intraductal carcinoma, DCIS is a particular form of breast cancer in very early stage that has not
spread beyond the lobule. During this stage, there is no infiltration of cancer cells through
the fatty breast tissue
membranes surrounding the lactiferous. Intraductal carcinoma accounts for nearly 25% of all breast cancer
diagnosis. As lobular carcinoma in
situ, ductal carcinoma in situ is
often detected during a mammogram
Stage I – in this early stage, the size of the tumor is usually 2
centimeters or less and the cancer has not spread outside the breast. If you are diagnosed with a stage 1 breast
cancer, you are more likely to be cured.
Stage II – a stage 2 breast cancer can presents in three different
- Stage IIA breast cancer - the size of the tumor remains less than or equal
to 2 centimeters but has spread to axillary lymph nodes in the armpits.
- Stage IIB breast cancer- the cancer has a size between 2 and 5 cm with or
without having spread to lymph nodes in the armpit
- Stage IIC breast cancer - the size of the cancer is more than 5 cm but it has
not spread to lymph nodes in the armpit.
III - the
specialists in ecology divide stage III breast cancer in three substages (categories): stage IIIA,
IIIB and IIIC.
IIIA breast cancer - during
stage IIIA, 1) the extension of the cancer is less than 5 centimeters and has spread to axillary lymph
nodes and the lymph nodes are
connected with each other or with other structures. 2) The size of the cancer is greater than 5 centimeters
and has spread to axillary lymph nodes.
IIIB breast cancer - during
stage IIIB, in the other hand, 1) The cancer has spread to nearby tissues of the breast (chest wall, ribs,
chest muscles, etc..). 2) The cancer has spread to lymph nodes inside the chest wall. At this stage, your
survival chances decrease.
- Stage IIIC breast cancer – the cancer can be of any size, and has spread to:
1) 10 or
more lymph nodes under the arm; 2) lymph nodes above or beneath the collarbone and near the neck; 3) lymph
nodes under the arm.
IV: this final
stage indicates a very advanced breast cancer. The cancer has metastasized to other organs of the body such as
bones, lungs, brain, etc. The tumor may be extended locally to the skin and internal lymph nodes in the neck.
a breast cancer is considered as recurrent when it returns after treatment. The cancer can develop in the
original location or in other sites. In general, a recurrent breast cancer is more difficult to be eradicated;
survival chances decrease considerably.