Stages of Breast CancerBreast cancer is a complex disease. All cases are not the same. Once the disease has been found, more tests will be done to find out the specific pattern. This important step is called staging. Knowing the exact stage will help your healthcare provider plan your treatment.
Your healthcare provider will want to know:
- The size of the tumor and exactly where it is in your breast
- If the cancer has spread within your breast
- If cancer is present in your lymph nodes under your arm
- If cancer is present in other parts of your body.
Specific breast cancer stages include:
- Stage 0 (including lobular carcinoma in situ and ductal carcinoma in situ)
- Stage I
- Stage II (including IIA and IIB)
- Stage III (including IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC)
- Stage IV
Treating Breast CancerWomen with breast cancer have many treatment options available to them. These options include:
- Surgery (see Breast Cancer Surgery)
- Radiation therapy (see Breast Cancer Radiation)
- Chemotherapy (see Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer)
- Hormone therapy (see Breast Cancer Hormone Treatment)
- Biological therapy (see Biological Therapy for Breast Cancer).
Many women receive more than one type of treatment, and the choice of treatment depends mainly on the disease's stage (see Breast Cancer Treatment by Stage).
Some of these treatments are considered primary, where the purpose is to remove the tumor. Others are considered adjuvant therapy, which is treatment given to kill any tumor cells that may have spread and to increase the chances for a cure (see Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer).
Your healthcare provider can describe your treatment choices and the expected results. Then, the two of you can work together to develop a treatment plan that reflects your medical needs and personal values.