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Understanding The Stages Of Breast Cancer

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11653 StagesBreastCancer

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with breast cancer, knowing the different stages and what to expect with each one can be a great help while recovering from the disease.

Having knowledge of the different stages of breast cancer allows the patient to have a better grasp on their situation and will help them be better able to communicate with their doctor about treatment and prevention.

Stage 0

This stage is used to describe non-invasive conditions. There is no evidence of cancer cells 11653 1Stageor abnormal cells breaking out from the area where they started or invading other tissue. No chemotherapy is necessary nor is treatment to the lymph nodes. The American Cancer Society found that as of 2014, 100 percent of women in stage 0 have lived at least 5 years after being diagnosed. 

 

Photo Credit: NationalBreastCancer.org

Stage I

This stage is used to described invasive breast cancer and is broken up into two categories; IA and IB. If the tumor is at least 2 centimeters and has not spread to the rest of the breast, it is categorized as IA. If there is no tumor but a large group of cancerous cells or smaller group of cancerous cells and a small tumor, it is IB. Treatments include mastectomy, lumpectomy and radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy. The American Cancer Society found that as of 2014, 100 percent of women in stage I have lived at least 5 years after being diagnosed.

Stage II

It’s growing but is still contained or has only reached some of the lymph nodes. It involves IIA and IIB, depending on the size of the tumor and whether the breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. A total mastectomy followed by radiation may be necessary, chemo, hormonal therapy or treatments to the nodes. The American Cancer Society found that as of 2014, 93 percent of women in stage II have lived at least 5 years after being diagnosed.

Stage III

11653 3StageInvolves IIIA, IIIB and IIIC and is considered a more advanced form. At this stage, it has extended beyond the region of the tumor and may have invaded nearby lymph nodes and muscles, but has not spread to distant organs. Total mastectomy, radiation, hormonal therapy, chemo and lymph node treatment are treatment options. The American Cancer Society found that as of 2014, 72 percent of women in stage III have lived at least 5 years after being diagnosed.

Photo Credit: NationalBreastCancer.org

Stage IV

Stage IV means the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, such as the brain, bones, lung and liver. It’s usually considered incurable but advances in medicine and research have helped women live longer and longer at this stage. Treatments include surgery, radiation, chemo and targeted therapy. The American Cancer Society found that as of 2014, 22 percent of women in stage IV have lived at least 5 years after being diagnosed.