Breast Cancer Awareness

Stage I

 Is Either a tumor mass 2 centimeters or smaller within the breast; a tumor 2 cm or less along with small clusters of cancer cells in the lymph nodes; or cancer cells (no tumor) found in the lymph nodes. Treatment may involve mastectomy or lumpectomy and radiation; sometimes chemo or hormone therapy. The five-year survival rate is high—88 percent.

Stage II

Stage IIA can include any tumor that’s 2 to 5 cm but hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes, or is smaller than 2 cm and has spread to up to three nodes under the arm or near the breastbone. A stage IIB tumor is either 2 to 5 cm with cancer also in lymph nodes, or is larger than 5 cm with no lymph nodes involved. Surgery, chemo and/or hormone therapy may be needed.

Stage III

There are several different scenarios. For instance, it may be a tumor of any size that has also invaded the chest wall or skin; the cancer may also have reached lymph nodes in the collarbone area or have affected 10 or more lymph nodes under the arm. Treatment may involve chemo, surgery (possibly mastectomy), often radiation and appropriate drugs.

Stage IV

 Is a small percentage of cancers are diagnosed at this stage, in which cells have spread from the bloodstream, tissue or lymph system (typically to bones, lungs, liver or brain). Treatments such as drugs for hormone-sensitive cancers, chemo and targeted therapies have progressed—docs can now keep some stage IV cancers at bay for up to 20 years.

Reference: SELF Magazine