How is the stage of breast cancer determined?
The stage of breast cancer is determined by considering the tumour size, lymph node involvement, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This information helps to classify it into stages ranging from 0 to IV, with higher stages indicating more advanced cancer.
How does the breast cancer staging process start?
The breast cancer staging process starts with diagnostic tests. Your doctor may suggest tests based on screening results, symptoms, and other factors. Your doctor may recommend one of the following tests:
Mammogram: Uses X-rays to detect early breast cancer by imaging breast tissue.
Ultrasound employs sound waves for real-time imaging of breast structures.
MRI utilizes powerful magnets to provide detailed cross-sectional views of breast tissues.
Biopsy: This involves sampling tissue for lab analysis, confirming abnormalities detected in imaging.
Breast cancer staging guidelines:
TNM System for Breast Cancer Staging:
Tumour: size of the tumour and its growth into nearby tissue.
Node: spread of cancer to nearby lymph nodes and the extent of involvement.
Metastasis: Indicates whether cancer has spread to distant organs, like the lungs or liver.
Additional Breast Cancer Characteristics:
Estrogen-Receptor Status or Progesterone-Receptor Status:
Positive: Cancer can use estrogen or progesterone to grow.
Indicates whether the cancer produces HER2, a protein promoting cancer cell growth.
Indicates how closely cancer cells resemble healthy cells.
Oncotype DX Recurrence Score:
Considers genes’ response to treatment based on ER, PR, and HER2 status (in specific cases).
What are the stages of breast cancer?
Stage 0: Carcinoma in Situ (Non-Invasive):
This stage refers to abnormal cells that are found in the lining of a breast duct but have not invaded nearby tissues. It is often called “pre-cancer” because it is not considered invasive and has not spread beyond the original site.
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) is a common form of Stage 0 breast cancer.
Stage I: Early Stage:
Stage I is characterized by small tumours that are localized to the breast and have not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
The tumour size is typically less than 2 centimetres, and there is no lymph node involvement.
The prognosis for Stage I breast cancer is generally favourable, and the primary treatment may involve surgery, such as lumpectomy or mastectomy.
Stage II: Larger Tumours or Nearby Lymph Node Involvement:
Stage II breast cancer is divided into two subcategories – IIA and IIB – based on tumour size and lymph node involvement.
IIA may have a larger tumour (up to 2 cm) with limited lymph node involvement or a smaller tumour (less than 2 cm) with some lymph node involvement.
IIB may have a larger tumour (2–5 cm) with no lymph node involvement or a tumour larger than 5 cm with limited lymph node involvement.
Stage III – Locally Advanced Cancer:
Stage III is further divided into subcategories – IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC – based on the size of the tumour and the extent of lymph node involvement.
IIIA may have a larger tumor with significant lymph node involvement.
IIIB may involve the chest wall or skin and may include lymph node involvement.
IIIC typically indicates extensive lymph node involvement, potentially with clusters of cancer cells.
Stage IV: Advanced Cancer with Distant Metastasis:
Stage IV breast cancer indicates that the cancer has spread to distant organs, such as bones, liver, lungs, or brain.
It is considered metastatic, and the focus of treatment shifts to managing symptoms, slowing the progression of the disease, and improving the quality of life.
Stage IV breast cancer is generally not curable, but treatments aim to extend survival and provide palliative care.
What are the treatments of breast cancer?
Here are the key points about the stage of breast cancer that typically requires surgery:
Early Stages (I and II):
Surgery is often the primary treatment for early-stage breast cancer.
Common surgical options include lumpectomy (removing the tumour and a small amount of surrounding tissue) or mastectomy (removing the entire breast).
Locally Advanced Stages (III):
Surgery is still a crucial part of treatment for locally advanced breast cancer.
It may involve a more extensive mastectomy, the removal of lymph nodes, or other surgical procedures.
Metastatic Stage (IV):
Surgery may not be the primary treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
However, in some cases, surgery might be recommended to address specific symptoms or complications, but it’s not aimed at curing the cancer.
Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice based on the specific characteristics of the cancer and individual health factors.
Determine What stage of breast cancer requires surgery:
Surgery remains a prevalent strategy for addressing different stages of breast cancer. In the early stages (I and II), leading breast cancer surgeon Dr. Ashish Pokharkar often recommends procedures like lumpectomy or mastectomy to effectively remove localized tumours. For locally advanced breast cancer (Stage III), the expertise of the best breast cancer specialist in PCMC, Dr. Ashish Pokharkar, may involve more extensive surgery, including the removal of larger portions of the breast and nearby lymph nodes. In the metastatic stage (Stage IV), where cancer has spread, surgery might not be the primary treatment.
Surgery is essential for early-stage breast cancer (I and II). It involves removing the tumour and surrounding tissue, with options like lumpectomy or mastectomy. This step is crucial for a complete excision, and additional therapies may follow, such as radiation, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy.