Staging of Breast Cancer

Stage

What and where is it?

What's the treatment?

0

Abnormal cells in the lining of the ducts or sections of the breast.

Results in increased risk of developing cancer in both breasts

Tamoxifen

or

Mastectomy, perhaps follwed by radiation

1

Cancer in breast tissue, tumor less than 1 inch across

Breast-sparing surgery or mastectomy followed by radiation

Can later have plastic reconstruction

2

Cancer in breast tissue, tumor less than 2 inches across, cancer may also spread to axillary (armpit) lymph nodes

Surgery followed by radiation with removal of axillary (armpit) lymph nodes

Chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy may also be used

3

Tumor is larger than 2 inches across with extensive spread to axillary or other nearby lymph nodes

Possible inflammation of breast tissue, dimpling, thickening, and change in color of the skin due to blocked lymphatic drainage

Surgery and/or radiation

Chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy may also be used

4

Spread of cancer beyond the immediate region of the breast

Chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy

Surgery may also be used to attack the tumor in the breast

Radiation sometimes used

Recurrent

Return of an earlier cancer, usually 2-3 years after treatment

Called local if only in the area it was before

Called metastatic if the cancer returns elsewhere

Local recurrent tumors treated varying on size and degree of involvement of lymph nodes (see stages 0-3 above)

Metastatic cancer treated as stage 4 disease