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5 Stages of breast cancer

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

If you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, you’ll want to know what stage it is, because it is one of the most important factors in evaluating treatment options for your condition.

There are 5 stages for breast cancer, whatever your condition is, remember that, your diagnosis might mean you have to think about your fertility earlier than you had planned. Doctors have many ways to find out what stage of breast cancer you are on. They use diagnostic tests to find out cancer's stage, so staging may not be complete until all the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor to decide what kind of treatment is best and can help predict a patient's prognosis, which is the chance of recovery. 

The 5 stages of breast cancer are: 

  • Stage 0 (zero): If cancer has been diagnosed early. It started in the breast ducts or milk glands and has stayed there. 
  • Stage 1: At this stage breast cancer is the earliest stage of invasive breast cancer. In stage 1, the tumor measures up to 2 cm and no lymph nodes are involved. At this stage, the cancer cells have spread beyond the original location and into the surrounding breast tissue. 
  • Stage 2: Also known as invasive breast cancer, the tumor in this stage measures between 2 cm to 5 cm, or cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer. Stage2 breast cancer indicates a slightly more advanced form of the disease. At this stage, the cancer cells have spread beyond the original location and into the surrounding breast tissue, and the tumor is larger than in stage I disease. However, stage 2 means cancer has not spread to a distant part of the body. At stage 2, a tumor may be detected during a breast self-exam as a hard lump within the breast. 
  • Stage 3: Also known as locally advanced breast cancer, the tumor in this stage of breast cancer is more than 2 inches in diameter across and the cancer is extensive in the underarm lymph nodes or has spread to other lymph nodes or tissues near the breast. At this stage, the cancer cells have usually not spread to more distant sites in the body, but they are present in several axillary (underarm) lymph nodes. The tumor may also be quite large at this stage, possibly extending to the chest wall or the skin of the breast. 
  • Stage 4: Also known as metastatic breast cancer, cancer in this stage has spread beyond the breast, underarm and internal mammary lymph nodes to other parts of the body near to or distant from the breast. At this stage, cancer has spread elsewhere in the body. The affected areas may include the bones, brain, lungs or liver and more than one part of the body may be involved. 

And there are 3 Types of recurrent breast cancer: 

- Local recurrence is when cancer has returned to the same location as the original cancer. 

- Regional recurrence is when cancer has been found in or near the original location. 

- Distant recurrence is when breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This is also considered metastatic breast cancer.