How to Understand the Stages of Breast Cancer

How to Understand the Stages of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the second leading cause of death from cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that about one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime, and about one woman dies from this disease every minute. Breast cancer can occur at any age, but it’s most common after menopause (around age 50).

Stage 0, Non-invasive Stage

Stage 0 breast cancer is a non-invasive stage. It means that the cancer has not spread to other parts of your body and has not metastasized. This can be an early stage of any type of breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). In most cases, women who have DCIS and are at high risk for developing invasive disease will be given an initial biopsy to confirm whether or not they have DCIS as well as determine whether or not any additional treatment is necessary.

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Stage 1, Invasive and Metastatic Breast Cancer

Stage 1 is the earliest stage of breast cancer and it is characterized by tumors that have grown in the breast but have not spread outside the breast. The cancer cells are found to be non-infiltrating, meaning they do not penetrate through the wall of surrounding tissue.

Stage 2: Tumors that have spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body

In stage 2, tumors have metastasized (spread) beyond your skin or lymph nodes into other parts of your body including bones, lungs and liver.

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Stage 2, Still In Stage 1 but Has Spread

Stage 2 breast cancer, also known as advanced stage 1, is when the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. This may include lymph nodes, bones and skin. The most common locations for this type of breast cancer are:

  • Lymph nodes directly under the arm (axillary)
  • Lymph nodes in front of and behind your ribs (supraclavicular)

Stage 3, Still In Stage 2 But Has Spread

Stage 3, Still In Stage 2 But Has Spread

Stage 3 is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, but it’s not yet considered inoperable. It’s also called invasive breast cancer because it can invade tissue around vital organs like your heart or lungs. The most common types of invasive breast cancers are found on lobes or lymph nodes under your arm that may be swollen and tender to touch (lymphadenopathy).

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You’ll want to speak with your doctor about what treatment options are available for you based on where you live and how far along you are with this stage of breast cancer.

Stage 4, Still In Stage 3 But Has Spread

When you’re diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, it means that your cancer has spread to other parts of your body.

Stage 4 breast cancer is the most advanced stage. It’s when the tumor has grown so large that it’s been noticed by X-ray or ultrasound imaging and can be felt under the skin without being touched. Stage 4 means that treatment will be more difficult, but there are still options available if you’re willing to try them.

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There are several stages of breast cancer.

There are several stages of breast cancer. There are different stages of breast cancer, and there are many different stages of breast cancer.

The most common stage is called ‘stage 0’. This means that the cancer has not spread beyond the original site where it started, such as in your breast or lymph nodes under your arm (axilla).

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If you have stage 1 or 2 cancers then these will have grown enough to have spread beyond their original location into nearby lymph nodes and possibly other areas around them like bones, lungs etc.. The next highest level is 3 which means metastasis (spread) has occurred but may not be life threatening yet because this kind of disease requires treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy before any symptoms occur on a personal level.”


The stages of breast cancer are important because they can help you understand your treatment options, which in turn will affect how well you recover. If you have breast cancer and are looking for a treatment center, we recommend going to a facility that specializes in treating this type of disease.

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