Basically there are four stage of breast cancer. Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast.
The diagnosis of the breast cancer in the early days involved the radical mastectomy in which the entire breast is removed for observation along with the underarm lymph nodes.
But nowadays many new and more breast cancer diagnosis (Breast Cancer Personal Check) and breast cancer treatment methods have come up leading to the breast sparing operations. Before knowing the stages of breast cancer, let us gain some knowledge on types of breast cancer.
The breast cancer is broadly classified into three types apart from the recurrent type. They are the most common type being ductal carcinoma, which begins in the cells of the ducts.
The second one is the lobular carcinoma which arises in the lobules of the breast. This type is more often found in both breasts than are other types of breast cancer. The third is the inflammatory which is the rare type of breast cancer in which the breast is warm, red, and swollen.
The advanced stage of breast cancer is the metastatic breast cancer which is the considered to be the most dreadful disease. This is the recurrent stage where the breast cancer comes back after the treatment but also spreads to the other regions or parts or organs of the body making it very difficult for treatment giving very low survival chances.
The Four Stage of Breast Cancer
Staging is a procedure in which the disease is thoroughly observed to detect its spread. Depending on whether the disease has spread within the breast or outside as well the stage of breast cancer is assigned. This staging process is very important for treatment as the method of treatment varies from one stage of breast cancer to the other.
The following are the stage of breast cancer:
The carcinoma in situ is Stage 0 which means the cancer has not spread and is within the breast. There are 2 types of breast carcinoma in situ. They are the Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) which is a noninvasive, precancerous condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct and the lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is a condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lobules of the breast.
Stage I: In breast cancer stage I, the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has not spread outside the breast.
Stage IIA: In this stage of breast cancer:
- The cancer is found in the axillary lymph nodes or the lymph nodes under the arm without the tumor in the breast or
- If the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes; or
- The tumor has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes and is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters
Stage IIB: In this stage of breast cancer, the tumor
- has spread to the axillary lymph nodes and is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters or
- has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes and is larger than 5 centimeters.
Stage IIIA & Stage IIIB & Stage IIIC
In stage IIIA tumor may not be present in the breast and the cancer may be found in the axillary lymph nodes or the tumor of 5 centimeters or more may be found which has spread. In stage IIIB, the cancer may be of any size and invaded the other tissues near the breast or spread to lymph nodes within the breast or under the arm.
In stage IIIC, the cancer has spread to lymph nodes beneath the collarbone and near the neck. Also this may have spread to lymph nodes under the arm and to tissues near the breast or within the breast.
This is the advanced stage of breast cancer where the cancer has spread to other organs of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver, or brain.