The Stages of Breast Cancer

Posted by Lloyd on October 12, 2011

Breast cancer develops in stages or degrees. 1 Because treatments are often dependent on the stage of the breast cancer, it is important to understand the progression of the disease.

Stage 0
Indicates very early breast cancer. The cancer has not spread within the breast or outside of the breast area. Example: cancer in situ, such as ductal or lobular carcinoma in situ (DCIS or LCIS).

Stage I
Indicates a lesion smaller than one inch in diameter and has not spread outside the breast.

Stage II
Indicates a cancer that may or may not have spread to the “axillary” lymph nodes (around the armpit).

Stage III
Indicates a cancer that has spread to the axillary and other nearby lymph nodes, and other tissues outside the breast.

Stage IV
The cancer has spread to other major organs of the body—most frequently to the bones, lungs, liver or brain, or to distant lymph nodes.

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