DALLAS - Like most cancers, breast cancer has four stages. The stages of breast cancers ranges from zero to four, with four being the most severe.
Once a person is determined to have an infectious tumor or the diagnosis of breast cancer, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the breast or to other parts of the body through a process called staging. Knowing the stage of breast cancer is important to plan treatment.
Listed below is information on the effects of breast cancer in each stage:
- Stage 0 cancers are called “carcinoma in situ.” Carcinoma means cancer and “in situ” means “in the original place.” Stage 0 breast cancer, is a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct.
- In Stage 1 breast cancer, cancer is evident, but it is contained to only the area where the first abnormal cells began to develop. The breast cancer has been detected in the early stages and can be very effectively treated.
- Stage 2 means the breast cancer is growing, but it is still contained in the breast or growth has only extended to the nearby lymph nodes. Chemotherapy is usually done first for stage 2 breast cancer, followed by surgery and radiation therapy.
- Stage 3 cancer means the breast cancer has extended to beyond the immediate region of the tumor and may have invaded nearby lymph nodes and muscles, but has not spread to distant organs.
- Stage 4 breast cancer means that the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, such as the brain, bones, lung and liver. Although Stage 4 breast cancer is not curable, it is usually treatable and current advances in research and medical technology mean that more and more women are living longer by managing the disease as a chronic illness.
Click here to find out more info about the different stages of breast cancer.