The Stages of Breast Cancer

Stages of Breast Cancer
Stage Definition
Stage 0 Cancer cells remain inside the breast duct, without invasion into normal adjacent breast tissue.
Stage I Cancer is 2 centimeters or less and is confined to the breast (lymph nodes are clear).
Stage IIA No tumor can be found in the breast, but cancer cells are found in the axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under the arm)
OR
the tumor measures 2 centimeters or smaller and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes
OR
the tumor is larger than 2 but no larger than 5 centimeters and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
Stage IIB The tumor is larger than 2 but no larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes
OR
the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
Stage IIIA No tumor is found in the breast. Cancer is found in axillary lymph nodes that are sticking together or to other structures, or cancer may be found in lymph nodes near the breastbone
OR
the tumor is any size. Cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, which are sticking together or to other structures, or cancer may be found in lymph nodes near the breastbone.
Stage IIIB The tumor may be any size and has spread to the chest wall and/or skin of the breast
AND
may have spread to axillary lymph nodes that are clumped together or sticking to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Inflammatory breast cancer is considered at least stage IIIB.
Stage IIIC There may either be no sign of cancer in the breast or a tumor may be any size and may have spread to the chest wall and/or the skin of the breast
AND
the cancer has spread to lymph nodes either above or below the collarbone
AND
the cancer may have spread to axillary lymph nodes or to lymph nodes near the breastbone.
Stage IV The cancer has spread — or metastasized — to other parts of the body.

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