What Are the Different Stages of Breast Cancer?

Learn about the different breast cancer stages and what they mean in this Howcast video with expert Marisa Weiss, MD.

Transcript

"Hi, I'm Doctor Marisa Weiss, president and founder of breastcancer.org. I'm also a practicing oncologist, and mom, and also a breast cancer survivor. So I'm happy to share information with you today that could help protect your life against breast cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness: Breast Cancer Stages and What They Mean: Breast cancer is a complicated disease and doctors often use a staging system to try to categorize different types of breast cancers and use that as a basis for treatment. So whenever one and anyone is diagnosed with breast cancer we always want to understand what is the extent and nature of the disease so that each individual woman can get the best treatment that's tailored for her unique situation. When it comes to staging, there are actually five stages.

Stage 0 is called Ductal carcinoma in situ. It's a noninvasive type of breast cancer when there is an overgrowth of breast cells that is stuck inside of breast structure. That's to say that the cancer has not yet learned how to invade or spread.

Stage 1 is when the cancer is two centimeters or smaller without any lymph nodes involved.

Stage 2 is when the cancer measures over two centimeters but five centimeters or smaller and there can also be lymph nodes that are involved.

Stage 3 is when the cancer is over five centimeters or when there is skin involvement or inflammatory changes and there can be lymph nodes involved, sometimes a lot of lymph nodes involved.

And Stage 4 is when is breast cancer is called advanced or metastatic when the breast cancer has spread beyond the breast and the immediate lymph node bearing areas, the armpit and the base of the neck. That's what's called Stage 4 breast cancer. But regardless of whatever stage you or someone your caring about is facing there are treatments, effective treatments to manage the situation. So even if you're dealing with a more advanced type of breast cancer, don't lose hope. There are many different options out there for you to help you protect your life and hopefully overcome this challenge."

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