The 4 stages of breast cancer
The four stages of breast cancer include
- Stage I: It is divided into two groups.
- Stage II: It is divided into two groups.
- Stage III: Cancer hasn’t spread to bones or organs. However, it is considered an advanced stage. There are three groups.
- Stage IIIA: The tumor has been found in up to nine lymph nodes in the underarm to the collarbone.
- Stage IIIB: The tumor has grown into the chest wall or skin around the breast.
- Stage IIIC: The tumor has been found in 10 or more lymph nodes or has spread above or below the collarbone.
- Stage IV: Breast cancer cells have spread far away from the breast and lymph nodes around it.
There is one more stage called stage 0 or carcinoma in situ. It means the initial stage where the cancerous cells are confined to their origin and have not acquired the “invasive” character yet.
The staging system most often used for breast cancer is the TNM system of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC). In this, breast cancer staging may be of two types.
- Clinical staging: Based on the results of tests done before surgery, which may include physical examinations, mammograms, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
- Pathological staging: Based on what is found during surgery to remove breast tissue and lymph nodes.
In both the staging systems, seven key pieces of information are used.
- T (tumor): It refers to the size of the original tumor.
- N (node): It describes whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
- M (metastasis): It refers to the spreading of cancer to other parts of the body.
- Estrogen receptor (ER) status: It refers to the presence of a protein called estrogen receptor in cancer.
- Progesterone receptor (PR) status: It defines whether cancer has a protein called a progesterone receptor.
- HER2 status: It assesses if cancer is producing too much of a protein called HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2).
- Grade of cancer (G): It refers to how close cancer cells appear like normal cells.
A number (0-4) or the letter X is allocated to each factor. A higher number means the cancer is more advanced. For instance, a T1 score refers to a smaller tumor than a T2 score. The letter X indicates that the information could not be assessed.
Table. The characteristics of breast cancer according to the TNM staging system
|Stages||T Category||N Category||M Category|
|X||The primary tumor cannot be assessed.||The lymph nodes cannot be assessed.||Distant spread cannot be evaluated.|
|0||No evidence of cancer in the breast.||
There are two possibilities:
|No distant spread|
Cancer is confined within the ducts of the breast tissue and has not spread into the nearby tissue. There are two types:
|0 (i+)||-||-||No clinical or radiological evidence of metastases. Although there is microscopic evidence of cancer cells in the blood, bone marrow, or other lymph nodes that are no larger than 0.2 mm.|
The tumor in the breast is 20 mm or smaller in size at its widest area. There are four substages:
Cancer has spread to one or three lymph nodes in the armpit.
|Evidence of metastasis to another part of the body, which means breast cancer cells are growing in other organs.|
|II||The tumor is between 20 and 50 mm.||Cancer has spread to four to nine lymph nodes.||-|
|III||The tumor is larger than 50 mm.||Cancer has spread to 10 or more lymph nodes.||-|
The tumor falls into one of the following groups:
T4a means the tumor has grown into the chest wall.
T4b is when the tumor has grown into the skin.
T4c is cancer that has grown into the chest wall and the skin.
T4d is inflammatory breast cancer.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Stages. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/understanding-a-breast-cancer-diagnosis/stages-of-breast-cancer.html
Top What Are the 4 Stages of Breast Cancer? Related Articles
Bone Marrow Transplantation for Breast CancerBone marrow transplantation may be performed after a woman undergoes high-dose chemotherapy for breast cancer. High-dose chemotherapy kills blood cells as well as cancer cells. Bone marrow transplantation involves harvesting stem cells from the bone marrow and infusing them back into the patient to stimulate the growth of new blood cells. The patient must remain isolated until the new bone marrow begins to grow.
Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast self-examination (BSE), biopsy, and specialized testing on breast cancer tissue. Treatment of breast cancer may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Breast cancer risk may be lowered by managing controllable risk factors.
What you should know about breast cancer
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.
- One in every eight women in the United States develops breast cancer.
- There are many types of breast cancer that differ in their capability of spreading (metastasize) to other body tissues.
- The causes of breast cancer are unknown, although medical professionals have identified a number of risk factors.
- There are many different types of breast cancer.
- Breast cancer symptoms and signs include
- a lump in the breast or armpit,
- bloody nipple discharge,
- inverted nipple,
- orange-peel texture or dimpling of the breast's skin (peau d'orange),
- breast pain or sore nipple,
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck or armpit, and
- a change in the size or shape of the breast or nipple.
- Breast cancer can also be symptom free, which makes following national screening recommendations an important practice.
- Breast cancer is diagnosed during a physical exam, by a self-exam of the breasts, mammography, ultrasound testing, and biopsy.
- Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type of cancer and its stage (0-IV) and may involve surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Breast Cancer and LymphedemaLymphedema is a common chronic, debilitating condition in which excess fluid called lymph collects in tissues and causes swelling in them. It is common after a mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast cancer surgery and radiation therapy.
Young Women & Breast CancerIs breast cancer genetic? Should I get tested for the BRCA gene? What every young women should know about breast cancer. Discover the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and other crucial breast cancer facts.
Breast Cancer During PregnancyBreast cancer occurs in about 1 in every 1,000 pregnant women. Treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy involves surgery, but it is very difficult to protect the baby from the dangerous effects of radiation and chemotherapy. It can be an agonizing to decide whether or not to undergo breast cancer treatment while one is pregnant.
Breast Cancer Follow-Up Self-ExamA breast cancer follow-up self-exam is a test that may help a woman detect a recurrence of the disease. A woman should perform a monthly self-exam of both breasts as well as attend scheduled follow-up appointments to detect any breast cancer recurrence early. Lymph node involvement, tumor size, hormone receptor status, histologic grade, nuclear grade, and oncogene expression help determine the likelihood of a recurrence.
Where Breast Cancer SpreadsWhen breast cancer spreads, or metastasizes, it often goes to these five places: the lymph nodes, bones, liver, lungs, and brain. See how breast cancer metastasis affects the body, possible symptoms, and treatment.
Breast Cancer SlidesLearn about breast cancer causes, symptoms, tests, recovery, and prevention. Discover the types of treatments such as surgery and drug therapies as well as the survival rate for breast cancer.
Breast Cancer PreventionLifestyle changes, a healthy antioxidant-rich diet, exercise, and weight reduction can help reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. It's important to be aware of how risk factors such as family history, lifestyle factors, breast conditions, radiation therapy, and hormonal factors may influence your chances of developing breast cancer. Mammography and breast self-examinations are crucial steps in breast cancer prevention.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor About Breast Cancer?A diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming, so it's important to write down all your questions before meeting with your doctor.
Breast Cancer QuizThis Breast Cancer Quiz features signs, symptoms, facts, causes, common forms, terms, risk factors, statistics, and more. Increase your awareness of breast cancer now!
Chemotherapy Treatment for Breast CancerChemotherapy refers to medications that are administered to kill or slow the growth of cancerous cells. Chemotherapy may be given orally or intravenously. Side effects of breast cancer chemotherapy may include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, increased risk of infection, fatigue, and easy bruising. Receiving chemotherapy causes changes in a woman's menstrual cycle.
Genetic Testing for Breast CancerIntensive genetic counseling is required before undergoing genetic tests for breast cancer. During this educational counseling session, the health care provider can fully explain the benefits and risks of genetic testing and answer any questions you may have. You will also be required to sign a consent form prior to participating in any genetic tests. The form is an agreement between you and your doctor, showing that you have discussed the test and how its results might affect your family.
Radiation Therapy for Breast CancerRadiation refers to high-energy rays that are directed at the breast to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Radiation reduces the risk of local cancer recurrence in the breast. Potential side effects include skin redness, swelling, peeling, and fatigue. It is necessary to undergo follow-up exams and diagnostic X-rays after completing radiation therapy for breast cancer.
Breast Cancer: Visual Guide to Male Breast CancerBreast cancer isn't just a woman's disease. Learn about the symptoms and treatment of male breast cancer, and find out what can put you at risk for this cancer.