A diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming and challenging for you and your family. We are here to help every step of the way. The NCCN Guidelines (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) are designed to help you better understand the treatment options available for breast cancer.
Breast cancer is divided into different groups called stages. The stage is determined by tumor size, how many lymph nodes are involved and how far the cancer has spread. The physicians at Breast Care Specialists will diagnose and determine the stage of cancer based on biopsy results, physical exam and imaging tests, in compliance with NCCN Guidelines.
Stage 0. Non-invasive breast cancers are considered stage 0. The most common cancer in this category is called DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ. DCIS does not have the ability to spread outside of the breast tissue.
Stage I. In Stage 1 breast cancer, the cancer (or tumor) is invasive. This is an early stage, and tumors are less than 2cm (approx ¾”) in size with no involvement of lymph nodes.
Stage II. In Stage 2 breast cancer, the tumor is larger, typically 2-5cm in size, or cancer is evident in a few lymph nodes. Tumors greater than 5cm with no involvement of lymph nodes are also considered Stage 2.
Stage III. Stage 3 breast cancer means there is a heavy burden of cancer in the breast or axillary nodes. Inflammatory breast cancer is an example of Stage 3.
Stage IV. This stage is characterized by the spread of breast cancer to distant organs regardless of tumor size of lymph node involvement.
Source: NCCN Guideline for Patients with Breast Cancer