print   Print full article STAGES OF BREAST CANCER
Breast cancer may be divided into several stages, reflecting the size of the tumour and the extent to which the cancer has spread in the body. Determining the stage of a cancer can assist in treatment decisions and establishing a prognosis, i.e., predicting the course of the disease and the chances of remission and/or recurrence.
Stage Size of the tumour Location
Stage 0   Confined within the breast ducts (ductal carcinoma in situ, DCIS) or confined within the lobules (lobular carcinoma in situ, LCIS)
Stage I Less than 2 cm (3/4 inch) across Tumour has spread beyond the ducts but is still confined within the breast tissue
Stage IIA Less than 2 cm across or no tumour Spread to one to three lymph nodes in the armpit (axilla)
Between 2 and 5 cm (3/4 to 2 inches) across No spread to the lymph nodes
Stage IIB 2  to 5 cm across Spread to the lymph nodes
Larger than 5 cm across No spread to the lymph nodes
Stage IIIA   Spread to lymph nodes in the armpit that are attached to each other or other structures and may have spread to lymph nodes behind the breast bone
Stage IIIB Any size Spread to chest wall or skin of the breast; may have spread to lymph nodes in the armpit and may have spread to behind the breast bone
Inflammatory breast cancer, a rare type of cancer that does not form a lump, usually falls into this category because it is aggressive.
Stage IIIC Any size Spread to lymph nodes in the armpit and to lymph nodes either behind the breast bone or above the collar bone
Stage IV Any size Spread to distant organs such as bone or liver
Reccurrent Any size Breast cancer that was undetected aftre treatment but is now detectable in any area of the body

Last Review Date: August 1, 2018