Breast Cancer Stages


The Significance of Understanding Breast Cancer Stages

10.11.2011 · Posted in Cancer

If someone has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may hear the doctor talk about breast cancer stages. While learning what stage cancer you have may be depressing, this information is key to figuring out just what can be done about your cancer. Actually, breast cancer stages will deal with Breast Cancer Survival Rates. It will help you understand your Breast Cancer Prognosis that is what chance you have of surviving the cancer. Breast cancer stages will help you learn about available treatments.

What Are Breast Cancer Stages?

Your pathology report will include information about the breast cancer stages, whether it is limited to one area in the breast, or it has spread to healthy tissues inside the breast or to other parts of the body. There are essentially four breast cancer stages. The first is stage 0. In stage zero breast cancer, atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts or lobules, the milk producing organs, into the surrounding breast tissue. In stage 1 breast cancer, the cancer is no larger than two centimeters (approximately an inch) and has not spread to surrounding

lymph nodes or outside the breast. Stage II breast cancer is divided into two categories according to the size of the tumor and whether or not it has spread to the lymph nodes they are stage II a and II B.

In stage II A Breast Cancer, the tumor is less than two centimeters and has spread up to three auxiliary underarm lymph nodes. Or, the tumor has grown bigger than two centimeters, but no larger than five centimeters and has not spread to surrounding lymph nodes. In stage II B, he tumor has grown to between two and five centimeters and has spread to up to three auxiliary underarm lymph nodes. Stage III breast cancer is divided up into two subcategories: IIIA and IIIB breast cancer stages. Stage III A is invasive breast cancer where the tumor is larger than five centimeters and there is significant involvement with the lymph nodes, i.e. they are clumped together or stick to one another. Stage IIIB is a breast cancer tumor of any size that has spread to the breast skin, chest wall, or internal mammary lymph nodes. The final of the breast cancer stages, Breast Cancer Stage IV, is a tumor that has spread beyond the breast, underarm or internal mammary lymph nodes and may have spread to the lymph nodes located at the base of the neck, the lungs, liver, bone, or brain. Those breast cancer stages are according to the TNM staging classification.


Learning about breast cancer stages is a time of intense emotional stress and confusion since it deals with the cancer progression. To figure out the breast cancer stages, doctors may use imaging tests such as mammograms, ultrasounds, chest x-rays, bone scans, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and positron-emission tomography (PET) scans, as well as tests of tissue samples (biopsies). Your team will explain which tests you need after you know which of the breast cancer stages, what to expect, and what the results mean. Again, understanding the breast cancer stages will help you to get the right treatment.

Breast Cancer Awareness: Breast Cancer Stages and What They Mean