Stages of Breast Cancer
It not only depends on the type of breast cancer or where it first presents itself; how it looks is also dependent on the stage of cancer. The stages determine how far the cancer has spread.
Stage 0 is when cells are present only in the milk duct. Left untreated, they can increase the risk of future breast cancers.
Stage I involves a tumor up to 2 centimeters.
Stage II A is when there is cancer found in lymph nodes, or there is a tumor between two and five centimeters in diameter.
Stage II B is when the tumor is in both the lymph nodes and is also up to five centimeters in diameter.
Stage III A is when the tumor is smaller than five centimeters in diameter and present in four to nine lymph nodes.
Stage III B is invasive breast cancer. A tumor of any size that has spread to the chest, under the ribs or breast skin.
Stage III C is a new classification. It is marked by a tumor that has spread to more than 10 lymph nodes as well as internal sites.
Stage IV is invasive breast cancer where a tumor has spread throughout the body, including the underarm area, beyond the breast, base of the neck, brain, lungs, bones or liver.