The Stages of Breast Cancer

Understanding the stages of breast cancer is one of the most important factors in evaluating and determining treatment options. Staging cancer may involve blood tests and other tests.

Stage 0

There is no evidence of cancer cells spreading out of the part of the breast in which they started or of getting through to or invading neighboring normal tissue.

Stage I

The tumor measures up to 2 centimeters and no lymph nodes are involved.

Stage II

(Invasive Breast Cancer) The tumor measures between 2 to 5 centimeters, or the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer.

Stage III

(Locally Advanced Breast Cancer) The tumor in the breast is more than 2 inches in diameter across and the cancer is extensive in the underarm lymph nodes or has spread to other lymph nodes or tissues near the breast.

Stage IV

(Metastatic Breast Cancer) The cancer has spread beyond the breast, underarm and internal mammary lymph nodes to other parts of the body around or distant from the breast.

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