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What to know about breast cancer staging?
Patients suffering from breast cancer will get a clear cut report of breast cancer staging from their pathology report. At times, the breast cancer may spread to other areas of the breast and it may spread to the healthy tissues of the breast. A doctor will be able to identify the severity of the condition and perform the right operation and eliminate the cancer from the body. Breast cancer initially travels and affects the lymph nodes in your underarms.
Breast cancer staging Characteristics
The characteristics of the varied stages of breast cancer depend on factors like cancer size, type of cancer i.e. whether it is non invasive or invasive. It is important to find out if the cancer has affected the underarm lymph nodes and whether it has spread to other body parts other than your breast.
The stages include the local stage, regional stage or distant stage. The local stage is when the cancer has been identified in the breasts. The regional stage is when the lymph nodes along with the breasts have been affected. The distant stage is when the cancer has spread to other body parts as well.
Identifying the breast cancer stages
The doctor will be able to identify the stage of breast cancer when he examines you. The shape of the breast and the enlargement of the lymph nodes will be visible during the breast examination. TNM is one form of staging system and it is based on the tumor size, lymph node size and how far the cancer has spread to other body parts.
Stage 0 is the stage where the cancer is non invasive and there is no specific evidence of the cancer cells. Stage is the stage where the cancer cells spread to the breast tissues. Stage IA is the stage when the tumor measures close to two centimeters, however, the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
In Stage IB, there are cancerous cells that are not bigger than two millimeters and found in the lymph nodes or they also appear as breast tumors. During Stage II, there are two stages like IIA, IIB. This is also referred to as the invasive stage of cancer and the lymph nodes have attracted the cancer and a node biopsy will be able to identify the cancer.
Stage III comprises of IIIA, IIIB and IIIC. The size of the tumor is more than five centimeters and it spreads to the axillary lymph nodes and a sentinel lymph node biopsy identifies that the patient has reached the Stage III of cancer. The typical features of the inflammatory breast cancer are reddish skin on the breast, swollen and warm breasts. During Stage IIIC, the tumor increases to any stage and it spreads to more than ten anxillary lymph nodes and also the nodes close to the breastbone.
During Stage IV, the cancer spreads to breast along with other body organs like skin, brain, lives, lymph nodes and lungs. You would have heard words like metastatic and advanced that are basically termed to describe the various stages of breast cancer.