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Different Stages of Breast Cancer from 0 to 4

11 February, 2021 Ananya Das

We all know that cancer develops when mutations take place inside the genes that empowers the cells to multiply uncontrollably. When these mutations occur in the breast cells, it develops a cancer which is called breast cancer. The cells of the lobules or the ducts of the breast undergo uncontrolled division which leads to breast cancer. But they aren’t the only places where it may occur, breast cancer can occur in the fatty tissues or fibrous connective tissues of the breasts as well.

From the breast cells, cancer may spread to other cells and eventually to all parts of the body. The breast cancer grows from stage 0 to stage IV or even more and repetitive.

Stages of breast cancer

Stage 0: This is also known as carcinoma in situ and is the earliest stage of breast cancer which is also the most difficult to detect. Usually at this stage, the spread of tumor cells to other parts of the breast and body is not found. It is thereby considered a precancerous condition where usually treatment is not required but care is. Usually stage 0 has two types:

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ: It’s easily detectable during mammogram screenings as it develops in breast ducts. It’s invasive so it’s more likely to be treated early.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ: In this case, the cells divide in the lobules and usually aren’t cancerous but with time may become so. These usually don’t spread to other parts of the body and breasts.

Stage 1: This stage of breast cancer can spread to other parts too. Here the size of the tumor may be up to 2cm. but since the size is too small, it may be difficult to detect. This is also divided into two types.

  • Stage 1A: Here the size of tumor is 2 cm.
  • Stage 1B: Here groups of cancer cells of size more than 2cm are found where the tumor size varies from 2cm to less than it.

The survival rate of stage 1A is higher than stage 1B.

Stage 2: This is also a kind of cancer that may spread to other nearer parts of the breasts. Here the tumor size may range from 2cm to 5cm. The cells are not expected to spread to the distinct parts of the body. It can be detected by self examination by the presence of hard lumps in the breast. It has 2 types:

  • Stage 2A: In this the tumor may be 2 to 5 cm in size but might have not spread to the auxiliary lymph nodes.
  • Stage 2B: Here the tumor may be 2 to 5 cm or larger than that in size but might have spread to the auxiliary lymph.

The survival rate of stage 2A may be slightly higher than that of 2B.

Stage 3: This is also known as locally advanced breast cancer where the tumor has size more than 2 inches in diameters. The cancer spreads across the lymph nodes to other parts of the body hence it is also comparatively a more invasive stage of breast cancer. This has 3 categories.

  • Stage 3A: There are one of the following chances in this case:
    1. Cancer is present in auxiliary lymph node which has spread to breast, but tumor is not present naturally there.
    2. Tumor is 2cm or less in size and the cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes.
    3. Tumor is 2 to 4 cm in size and has spread to lymph nodes.
    4. Tumor is large than 5 cm and has spread to lymph nodes.
  • Stage 3B: In this case, the size of tumor is variable and has spread to chest wall and to the auxiliary lymph nodes. If it spreads to breast skin, it can cause inflammation.
  • Stage 3C: No symptoms are seen and the cancer may have spread to the chest wall. The cancer cells are present in lymph nodes and may have spread to auxiliary lymph nodes. This stage may be operable.

The survival rate of stage 3A is higher than 3B which again has higher survival rather than 3C.

Stage 4: This is also known as metastatic breast cancer where the cancer has already spread beyond the breast itself. The affected areas include bones, brain and liver.

Recurrent breast cancer: The cancer returns back once the initial treatment is completed. The recurring time varies from 1 year to 3 years and in some cases, the years may be more than this. The recurrence risk depends on the type of cancer and the treatment used to cure it.

Treatment for breast cancer

Depending on the stage, type, size and invasion of your cancer, the method of treatment used to treat it varies.

Surgery is the most common method used to treat breast cancer but in some cases other treatment ways can also be used like radiation therapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and chemotherapy.

The method to be used and drugs to be prescribed depends on your doctor. And the prescribed medicines can be ordered online from pharmacies easily to any part of India.

Here is the list of Drugs Approved for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is becoming very common among females. If you find any kind of lymph in your breast by self-examination then you should definitely consult your doctor so that it can be detected at an early stage and you can get well soon with minimal treatment.


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