Breast cancer is a type of cancer that occurs when the breast cells begin to divide out of control. Doctors, upon diagnosing a patient with breast cancer, perform a staging process. Staging is used to determine the extent of cancer spread within the breast and its nearby regions. The staging is done based on the TNM system, where:
- T stands for tumor size.
- N is for lymph node involvement.
- M is for metastasis, indicating whether the cancer has spread to distant organs.
The size of the tumor is represented by a number. The greater the number, the more extensive the spread. There are a total of 5 stages for breast cancer staging, ranging from stage 0 to stage 4. The lower stages represent a less aggressive form of cancer, while higher stages signify a more aggressive form.
Stage 0: Also known as DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ), at this stage, cancer remains in its original place and has not metastasized elsewhere. It is the earliest form of cancer and is considered more treatable. The term "non-invasive" implies that the cancer has not metastasized.
Stage 1: This stage represents an early form of cancer that occupies a small area. It is further divided into sub-stages:
- Stage 1A: Involves a small tumor (about 20mm or less) and may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage 1B: Although there may be no primary tumor in the breast, small groups of cancer cells (0.2mm to 2mm) are present in nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 2: The tumor size increases compared to stage 1, and it may involve nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 3: At this stage, the tumor size increases and occupies about 4-9 lymph nodes.
Stage 4: In stage 4 breast cancer, the cancer has metastasized to distant organs such as the lungs, liver, and brain.
If you have any uncertainties or seek a better understanding of breast cancer, we invite you to reach out to CION Cancer Clinics. Our team is here to assist you. Feel free to contact us at 1800 120 2676, or you can conveniently fill out the form through the provided link.