What is the staging of breast cancer? What are tnm and ajcc breast cancer staging? Have you heard all these terms earlier? If not, now it’s time to know about breast cancer in detail. Being a woman one should not ignore this as female population is more prone to this when compared to males. So, one should know these terms and also the complete Signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Early detection can save lives, and it is estimated that 86.4% of the people diagnosed with breast cancer can survive more than five years after treatment. October is the month of Breast Cancer awareness. If you can notice the breast cancer in an early stage, then breast cancer survival rate will be high. As the stage increases the life expectancy will also reduce. So, get knowledge on different stages of breast cancer to fight more efficiently.

stage iiib breast cancer

What are the different types of staging?

  • Clinical Staging: In this staging, cancer determination is based on the physical examination, imaging tests, and biopsies of affected areas.

  • Pathologic Staging: In this kind of breast cancer staging, the patients who have had the surgery to remove a tumor. In Pathologic stage, the physician considers the combination the results of both the clinical staging and surgical results.

Also read: Types of breast cancer

  • Post-Therapy: In this type of cancer staging, the doctor will determine the remnants present in a patient who has undergone Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer or radiation therapy before the surgery.

  • Restaging: It is used to know the extent of the disease after completion of the treatment. This stage determines the relapse of cancer if present. Restaging helps the physician to determine the best treatment options if recurrence occurs.

Stages of Breast Cancer

Staging of breast cancer is nothing but the extent of the disease spread within your body. Knowing the Breast Cancer stage is the crucial factor for treatment. In general, the earlier the stage, the better will be the result of the treatment. There are different methods to know the stages in breast cancer. They are

  1. General staging of breast cancer
  2. ajcc breast cancer staging/tnm staging of breast cancer

1. General Stages in Breast Cancer:

There are five different stages of breast cancer. Of them, the last step is the critical juncture where recovery is nearly zero. So, each of all Stages of Breast Cancer in detail.

Internal mammary lymph nodes

Stage 0:

Stage 0 is the first stage of breast cancer. In this juncture, you can notice non-invasive breast cancers. In stage 0 of breast cancer, first stage symptoms are not evident. So, it ‘s hard to diagnose the first stage of breast cancer as signs are not very clear.

Must Read: Identification of breast cancer

Stage I Breast Cancer:

Breast cancer stage 1 describes the invasive breast cancer. In this, the cancer cells are breaking through to or invading normal surrounding breast tissue. Breast cancer first stage is again divided into two sub-levels. They are

  • In Stage IA, the tumor present in the breast will be upto 2 centimeters, and it does not involve spreading in any lymph nodes. Stage 1 breast cancer symptoms may include the formation of lump which you can notice by touch.
  • In Stage IB, there is no tumor in the breast. Instead of this, a small group of cancer cells which are larger than 0.2 millimeters are present in the lymph nodes. A mammogram can detect this quickly.
Breast cancer stage 2:

2nd Stage breast cancer is again divided into two sub-levels. They are Stage 2A or Stage 2b Breast cancer.

Stage IIA: In this stage, you can not find any tumor in the breast. But, cancer which is larger than 2 millimeters is found in 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes or breastbone.

Stage IIB breast cancer: The tumor is larger than 2 cm but does not exceed 5 cm. Some group of cancer cells may be present in the lymph nodes, or the tumor is larger than 5 cm but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes. The stage 2 breast cancer survival rate is more than 50% and the stage 2 breast cancer treatment involves mastectomy or chemotherapy and other.

Must read: Causes of Breast cancer

Breast cancer stage 3:

Stage 3 breast cancer also comprises of two sub-stages. They are

Stage III A: At this juncture, there is no appearance of the tumor, but cancer cells may be present in 4 to 9 axillary lymph nodes or the lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Stage IIIB: The tumor present in your breasts may be of any size and will start spreading to the chest wall and skin of the breast. It causes swelling and spreading also takes place in lymph nodes nearer to breast bone. Stage 3 breast cancer treatment involves removal of the lymph nodes. Chemotherapy is more conventional treatment in this juncture. Sometimes, the physicians will prefer radiation. Breast cancer stage 3 survival rate is 48-52%. Stage 3 breast cancer survival rates may sometimes be upto 73%. So, to improve the stage 3 breast cancer life expectancy on should undergo the treatment immediately.

Breast Cancer Stage 4:

Stage 4 Breast Cancer is the last of all Stages of Breast Cancer. In this case, the cancer becomes metastatic nd travels in the blood stream beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other organs of the body. At this point of time, the doctor may use the terms like “advanced” and “metastatic.” Breast cancer stage 4 survival rate is very less because of this reason. When the cancer spread to major organs, then it will be difficult to conduct surgeries. So, stage 4 breast cancer survival rates are very minimal that is about just 2%. So, the physicians will intimate you that the stage 4 breast cancer life expectancy is just tiny, may be few days to few weeks.

Know the symptoms of breast cancer

Breast cancer stage

2. ajcc breast cancer staging/tnm staging

American Joint Committee on Cancer method of staging is just known as AJCC staging. This committee has developed a new method to divide the stages of breast cancer. So, this is a new process of staging. This type of ajcc breast cancer staging is mostly used by the professionals or the physicians all over the world. This terminology is not common in public.

TNM stands for:
  • T indicates Tumor size
  • N indicates Lymph Node status that is the number and location of lymph nodes affected by cancer.
  • M means Metastases (Metastasis is a condition where the cancer detaches from the place of origin and move around in the blood stream which affects major organs)

Based on these, the physicians will name the condition. It includes the following

I. The ‘T’ category indicate the primary tumor. So, following are the conditions or stages of breast cancer

  • TX-In this, one can not evaluate the Primary tumor.
  • T0-There is no evidence of primary tumor.
  • Tis-Carcinoma in situ. Early stages of cancer which is still localized.
  • T1–T4 -This can give you the information about the Size and extent of the tumor present.

The N in the TNM staging of breast cancer indicates Number of the lymph node and its location.

Must read: Detailed information on breast cancer

  • NX-Evaluation of the Regional lymph nodes is not possible
  • N0-No regional lymph node involvement. So, the lymph nodes are devoid of cancer cells.
  • N1-N3 – In this type, some of the lymph nodes are affected by the cancer cells. Also, it indicates number and extent of spread.

breast cancer staging tnm

The M indicates the metastasis condition of the cancerous cells.

M0- Can not find distant metastasis (cancer has not spread to other parts of the body)

M1-Confirmation of the Distant metastasis

MX: In this stage, evaluation of the the distance of the tumor is not possible.

Know what is Breast Cancer: stages, symptoms, causes

So, these are the Stages of Breast Cancer. Be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer. Early signs of breast cancer, if treated, will have high survival rates. If you can not recognize it in the more initial stages, then it leads to decrease in the life expectancy.

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