Staging describes or classifies a cancer based on how much cancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. This is often called the extent of cancer. Information from tests is used to find out the size of the tumour, what part of the breast has cancer, whether the cancer has spread from where it first started and where the cancer has spread.
Put simply, the stage describes how widespread or advanced the cancer is in the breast tissue and possibly other parts of your body. Determining the stage helps doctors explain the breadth of the cancer to you. Breast cancer is also classified according to other characteristics.
The stage of the cancer helps you and your doctor:. Breast cancer stage is usually expressed as a number on a scale of 0 through IV — with stage 0 describing non-invasive cancers that remain within their original location and stage IV describing invasive cancers that have spread outside the breast to other parts of the body. Your pathology report will include information that is used to calculate the stage of the breast cancer — that is, whether it is limited to one area in the breast, or it has spread to healthy tissues inside the breast or to other parts of the body.
T followed by a number from 0 to 4 describes the main primary tumor's size and if it has spread to the skin or to the chest wall under the breast. This includes inflammatory breast cancer. N followed by a number from 0 to 3 indicates whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the breast and, if so, how many lymph nodes are involved.
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Hearing you have stage 3 breast cancer can bring many questions — about your diagnosis, survival, treatments, and more. First, stage 3 breast cancer means your cancer has spread beyond the tumor and has possibly gone to lymph nodes and muscle, but has not spread to nearby organs. Doctors divide stage 3 into more specific categories 3A, 3B, and 3C and the cancer subtype, meaning which type of breast cancer you have.
Despite the good responses of patients pts with stage III breast cancer to neoadjuvant chemotherapy NACmost eventually relapse and have a poor prognosis. Subsequent to the completion of NAC and surgery, we assessed the clinicopathological results and performed prognostic analyses. Statistical analyses concerning disease-free survival DFS or overall survival OS were conducted by a Cox proportional hazard model. The median survival time was 66 months and there were 12 distant metastases and two local recurrences.
Breast cancer stage describes the extent of the cancer within your body. Breast cancer stage is the most important factor for prognosis. In general, the earlier the stage, the better the prognosis will be.
This information is based on AJCC Staging systems prior to which were primarily based on tumor size and lymph node status. Since the updated staging system for breast cancer now also includes the ER, PR and HER2 status, the stages may be higher or lower than previous staging systems. Whether or not treatment strategies will change with this new staging system are yet to be determined.