Breast Cancer: Stages | Cancer.Net

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about how doctors describe a cancer ’ s growth or outspread. This is called the stage. Use the menu to see other pages .

What is cancer staging?

Staging is a manner of describing how across-the-board the breast cancer is, including the size of the tumor, whether it has spread to lymph nodes, whether it has spread to distant parts of the consistency, and what its biomarkers are .
Staging can be done either before or after a affected role undergo surgery. Staging done before surgery is called the clinical stage, and staging done after operation is called the pathological degree. Doctors use diagnostic tests to find out the cancer ‘s stage, so staging may not be complete until all of the tests are finished. Knowing the phase helps the repair recommend the best kind of treatment and can help predict a patient ‘s prognosis, which is the gamble of convalescence. There are unlike stage descriptions for unlike types of cancer .
This page provides detail information about the system used to find the stage of breast cancer and the stage groups for summit cancer, such as stage IIA or phase IV.

TNM staging system

The most common cock that doctors use to describe the degree is the TNM system. Doctors use the results from diagnostic tests and scans to answer these questions :

  • Tumor (T): How big is the primary tumor in the breast ? What are its biomarkers ?
  • Node (N): Has the tumor spread to the lymph nodes ? If thus, where, what size, and how many ?
  • Metastasis (M): Has the cancer outspread to early parts of the soundbox ?

The results are combined to determine the stage of cancer for each person .
There are 5 major stages of breast cancer : degree 0 ( zero ), which is non-invasive ductal carcinoma in situ ( DCIS ), and stages I through IV ( 1 through 4 ), which are used for encroaching breast cancer. The stage provides a common way of describing the cancer, so doctors can work together to plan the best treatments .
Staging can be clinical or diseased. clinical stage is based on the results of tests done earlier operation, which may include physical examinations, mammogram, ultrasound, and MRI scans. pathological theatrical production is based on what is found during operation to remove summit tissue and lymph nodes. The results are normally available several days after operation. In general, pathological spy provides the most information to determine a patient ’ second prognosis .
here are more details on each contribution of the TNM system for breast cancer :

Tumor (T)

Using the TNM system, the “ T ” plus a letter or number ( 0 to 4 ) is used to describe the size and location of the tumor. Tumor size is measured in centimeters ( centimeter ). A centimeter is approximately peer to the width of a standard write or pencil .
phase may besides be divided into smaller groups that help describe the tumor in evening more contingent. specific tumor stage information in listed below.

TX: The primary coil tumor can not be evaluated.

T0 (T zero): There is no evidence of cancer in the breast .
Tis: Refers to carcinoma in situ. The cancer is confined within the ducts of the breast tissue and has not spread into the surrounding weave of the breast. There are 2 types of breast carcinoma in situ :

  • Tis (DCIS): DCIS is a non-invasive cancer, but if not removed, it may develop into an incursive breast cancer late. DCIS means that cancer cells have been found in front ducts and have not spread past the level of weave where they began .
  • Tis (Paget’s disease): Paget ‘s disease of the nipple is a rare mannequin of early, non-invasive cancer that is only in the peel cells of the nipple. Sometimes Paget ‘s disease is associated with an invasive breast cancer. If there is an encroaching front cancer, it is classified according to the stage of the incursive tumor .

T1: The tumor in the front is 20 millimeters ( millimeter ) or smaller in size at its widest area. This is a short less than an column inch. This stage is then broken into 4 substages depending on the size of the tumor :

  • T1mi is a tumor that is 1 millimeter or smaller .
  • T1a is a tumor that is larger than 1 mm but 5 millimeter or smaller .
  • T1b is a tumor that is larger than 5 mm but 10 millimeter or smaller .
  • T1c is a tumor that is larger than 10 mm but 20 millimeter or smaller .

T2: The tumor is larger than 20 mm but not larger than 50 millimeter .
T3: The tumor is larger than 50 millimeter.

T4: The tumor falls into 1 of the adopt 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 rampart and the skin .
  • T4d is incendiary breast cancer .

Node (N)

The “ N ” in the TNM stage system stands for lymph nodes. These small, bean-shaped organs help fight infection. Lymph nodes near where the cancer started are called regional lymph nodes. Regional lymph nodes include :

  • Lymph nodes located under the arm, called the axillary lymph nodes
  • Lymph nodes located above and below the clavicle

  • Lymph nodes located under the sternum, called the inner mammary lymph nodes

Lymph nodes in other parts of the body are called distant lymph nodes. The information below describes the denounce.

NX: The lymph nodes were not evaluated .
N0: Either of the following :

  • No cancer was found in the lymph nodes .
  • only areas of cancer smaller than 0.2 mm are in the lymph nodes .

N1: The cancer has spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes and/or the internal mammary lymph nodes. If the cancer in the lymph node is larger than 0.2 mm but 2 millimeter or smaller, it is called “ micrometastatic ” ( N1mi ) .
N2: The cancer has spread to 4 to 9 axillary lymph nodes. Or, it has spread to the inner mammary lymph nodes, but not the axillary lymph nodes .
N3: The cancer has spread to 10 or more axillary lymph nodes, or it has spread to the lymph nodes located under the clavicle, or clavicle. It may have besides spread to the internal mammary lymph nodes. cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes above the clavicle, called the supraclavicular lymph nodes, is besides described as N3 .
If there is cancer in the lymph nodes, knowing how many lymph nodes are involved and where they are help doctors to plan treatment. The diagnostician can find out the issue of axillary lymph nodes that contain cancer after they are removed during surgery. It is not common to remove the supraclavicular or inner mammary lymph nodes during operation. If there is cancer in these lymph nodes, treatment other than surgery, such as radiation sickness therapy, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy, is generally used .

Metastasis (M)

The “ M ” in the TNM system describes whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the consistency, called metastasis. This is no retentive considered early-stage or locally advance cancer. For more information, see this web site ‘s Guide to Metastatic Breast Cancer.

MX: Distant diffuse can not be evaluated .
M0: There is no evidence of aloof metastases .
M0 (i+): There is no clinical or radiographic evidence of aloof metastases. however, there is microscopic attest of tumor cells in the blood, bone kernel, or early lymph nodes that are no larger than 0.2 millimeter .
M1: There is tell of metastasis to another separate of the soundbox, meaning there are front cancer cells growing in other organs .
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Stage groups for breast cancer

Doctors assign the phase of the cancer by combining the T, N, and M classifications ( see above ), the tumor mark, and the results of ER/PR and HER2 testing. This information is used to help determine your prognosis ( see Diagnosis ). The bare approach to explaining the stage of breast cancer is to use the T, N, and M classifications alone. This is the border on used below to describe the different stages .
Most patients are anxious to learn the exact stage of the cancer. If you have surgery as the first treatment for your cancer, your repair will generally confirm the phase of the cancer when the screen after operating room is finalized, normally about 5 to 7 days after surgery. When systemic treatment is given before surgery, which is typically with medications and is called neoadjuvant therapy, the stage of the cancer is primarily determined clinically. Doctors may refer to stage I to stage IIA cancer as “ early stage ” and stage IIB to stage III as “ locally progress. ”

Stage 0: Stage zero ( 0 ) describes disease that is alone in the ducts of the summit weave and has not spread to the surrounding weave of the breast. It is besides called non-invasive or in situ cancer ( Tis, N0, M0 ).

Stage IA: The tumor is minor, invasive, and has not spread to the lymph nodes ( T1, N0, M0 ).

Stage IB: Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and the cancer in the lymph node is larger than 0.2 mm but less than 2 millimeter in size. There is either no tell of a tumor in the summit or the tumor in the front is 20 millimeter or smaller ( T0 or T1, N1mi, M0 ) .
Stage IIA: Any 1 of these conditions :

  • There is no evidence of a tumor in the summit, but the cancer has spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes. It has not spread to distant parts of the body ( T0, N1, M0 ) .
  • The tumor is 20 millimeter or smaller and has spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes ( T1, N1, M0 ) .
  • The tumor is larger than 20 mm but not larger than 50 millimeter and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes ( T2, N0, M0 ) .

Stage IIB: Either of these conditions :

  • The tumor is larger than 20 mm but not larger than 50 millimeter and has spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes ( T2, N1, M0 ) .
  • The tumor is larger than 50 millimeter but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes ( T3, N0, M0 ) .

Stage IIIA: The tumor of any size has spread to 4 to 9 axillary lymph nodes or to inner mammary lymph nodes. It has not spread to other parts of the body ( T0, T1, T2, or T3 ; N2 ; M0 ). Stage IIIA may besides be a tumor larger than 50 millimeter that has spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes ( T3, N1, M0 ) .
Stage IIIB: The tumor has spread to the chest rampart or caused swelling or ulcer of the breast, or it is diagnosed as incendiary breast cancer. It may or may not have unfold to up to 9 axillary or inner mammary lymph nodes. It has not spread to other parts of the consistency ( T4 ; N0, N1, or N2 ; M0 ).

Stage IIIC: A tumor of any size that has spread to 10 or more axillary lymph nodes, the inner mammary lymph nodes, and/or the lymph nodes under the clavicle. It has not spread to other parts of the soundbox ( any T, N3, M0 ) .
Stage IV (metastatic): The tumor can be any size and has spread to other organs, such as the bones, lungs, genius, liver, distant lymph nodes, or chest wall ( any T, any N, M1 ). metastatic cancer found when the cancer is first diagnosed occurs about 6 % of the time. This may be called de novo metastatic breast cancer. Most normally, metastatic front cancer is found after a previous diagnosis of early stage front cancer. Learn more about metastatic breast cancer .
Recurrent: Recurrent cancer is cancer that has come back after treatment and can be described as local, regional, and/or distant. If the cancer does return, there will be another round off of tests to learn about the extent of the recurrence. These tests and scans are much alike to those done at the meter of the original diagnosis.

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Used with permission of the American College of Surgeons, Chicago, Illinois. The original and primary source for this data is the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, Eighth Edition ( 2017 ), published by Springer International Publishing.
information about the cancer ’ sulfur stage will help the sophisticate recommend a specific discussion plan. The next section in this scout is Types of Treatment. Use the menu to choose a different incision to read in this steer .

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