The Five Stages of Breast Cancer and Its Treatment In India

You might be here after being diagnosed with breast cancer. You would be curious as to what your breast stage means. This article by Dr. Garvit Chitkara, one of the best breast cancer surgeon in Mumbai will make you understand the different stages and grades of breast cancer by explaining the concept in brief points..

This article will help you know how doctors group the different stages of breast cancer into various categories. 

Knowing the stage helps the doctor recommend the best treatment and can help predict a patient’s prognosis, which is the chance of recovery. There are different stage descriptions for different types of cancer.

This page provides detailed information about the system used to find the stage of breast cancer and the stage groups for breast cancer, such as stage IIA or stage IV.

TNM staging system

The most common tool that doctors use is the TNM System. 

A tumor (T) – The T (size) category describes the original (primary) tumor

Node (N) – The N (lymph node involvement) category describes whether or not the cancer has reached nearby lymph nodes: 

Metastasis (M) – The M (metastasis) category tells whether or not there is evidence that the cancer has traveled to other parts of the body: 

If you have queries or questions about the staging systems or the different stages and grades then you can directly ask top breast cancer surgeons here at clinicspots.

For your reference we’ve defined some medical terms at the end of the article. 

Stage 0 

Stage 0 is used to describe non-invasive breast cancers, such as DCIS(ductal carcinoma in situ)

In this stage 0, there is no evidence of cancer cells or non cancerous abnormal cells breaking out of the part.

Treatment for stage 0

  • Mastectomy
  • Lumpectomy plus radiation
  • Lumpectomy alone

Stage I

Stage I describes invasive breast cancer (cancer cells are breaking through or invading surrounding breast tissue)

Stage I is divided into subcategories known as IA and IB.

IA is described as when

  • The tumor measures up to 2cm 
  • Cancer has not spread outside the breast

IB is described as when

  • There is no tumor in the breast, but small groups of cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes. 
  • There is a tumor in the breast that is no larger than 2cm, and there are a group of cancer cells in the lymph nodes.

Microscopic invasion is possible in stage I. Microscopic invasion is described as when the cancer cells have just started to invade the tissue outside the lining of the duct or lobule, says Dr. Garvit Chitkara, one of the best breast cancer surgeon in Mumbai.

Treatment for stage IA and IB

  • Total mastectomy
  • Lumpectomy plus radiation
  • Sentinel or axillary lymph node biopsy
  • Chemotherapy: to reduce the risk of recurrence
  • Hormonal therapy: prescribed for people with hormone-receptor-positive cancer
  • Targeted therapy: medications may be used to treat cancer
  • Immunotherapy: recommended if the cancer is triple-negative

Stage II

Stage II  is divided into categories IIA and IIB.

Stage IIA is described as when:

  • No tumor is found in the breast, but cancer cells are found in one to three axillary lymph nodes. 
  • The tumor measures 2cm smaller and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes 
  • The tumor is larger than 2cm and smaller than 5cm and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

Stage IIB is described as when:

  • The tumor is larger than 2cm but not larger than 5 cm: small groups of breast cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes.
  • The tumor is larger than 2cm, and the cancer has spread to one to three axillary lymph nodes.
  • The tumor is larger than 5cm and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

Treatment for Stage II

  • Total mastectomy: radiation might be needed
  • Lumpectomy
  • Chemotherapy: recommended by a doctor for treating stage II
  • Hormonal therapy: is recommended for people with hormone receptor-positive cancer
  • Immunotherapy: recommended if the cancer is triple-negative
  • Targeted therapy: prescribed for people with hormone receptor-positive cancer

Stage III

Stage III is divided into subcategories as IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. 

Stage IIIA is described as when:

  • Cancer is found in four to nine axillary lymph nodes
  • The tumor is larger than 5cm, and small groups of cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes
  • The tumor is larger than 5 cm, and the cancer has spread to one to three axillary lymph nodes.

Stage IIIB is described as when:

  • The tumor may be of any size and has spread to the chest wall and caused swelling.
  • Have spread to nine axillary nodes
  • Spread to the auxiliary nodes near the breastbone

Stage IIIC is described as when:

  • Cancer has spread to 10 or more axillary lymph nodes
  • Cancer has spread to lymph nodes above or below the collarbone
  • Cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes or to the lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Treatment for stage III

  • Total mastectomy followed by radiation
  • Chemotherapy: to shrink the cancer tumor and treat cancer in the lymph nodes.
  • Lumpectomy and radiation: lumpectomy and radiation are done after chemotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy: prescribed for people with hormone-receptor-positive cancer

Stage IV

 

Stage IV is also described as an advanced or metastatic stage of cancer. Stage IV describes invasive breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to the body’s other organs, such as the lungs, skin, bones, liver, or bones. Dr. Garvit Chitkara, one of the best breast cancer surgeon in Mumbai.

Treatment for stage IV 

  • Surgery: surgery might be used with radiation,
  • Chemotherapy: chemotherapy is the most recommended therapy by doctors.
  • Hormonal therapy: is prescribed if the cancer is hormone receptor-positive 
  • Immunotherapy: recommended if the cancer is triple-negative
  • Treatment of the other part of the body: surgery followed by radiation is done on the other parts of the body. 

Reference

Lymph nodes: A small bean-shaped structure that is part of the body’s immune system.

Mastectomy: Mastectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely.

Lumpectomy: Lumpectomy is a surgical removal of a discrete portion or “lump” of breast tissue, usually in the treatment of a malignant tumor or breast cancer.

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