Breast Cancer (cont.)
Breast Cancer Treatment
Surgery is the mainstay of therapy for breast cancer. The choice of which
type of surgery is based on a number of factors, including the size and location
of the tumor, the type of tumor and the person's overall health and personal
wishes. Breast-sparing surgery is often possible.
The cancer is staged, using
the information from surgery and from other tests. Staging is a classification
that reflects the extent and spread of a tumor and has an impact on treatment
decisions and also the prognosis for recovery.
- Staging in breast cancer is
based on the size of the tumor, which parts of the breast are involved, how many
and which lymph nodes are affected, and whether the cancer has metastasized to
another part of the body.
- Cancers may be referred to as invasive if they have
spread to other tissues. Those that do not spread to other tissues are called
noninvasive. Carcinoma in situ is a noninvasive cancer.
Breast cancer is staged
from 0 to IV. You might see a TNM staging system which is based on the tumor size, lymph node involvement, and whether metastasis has occurred. This TNM system is used to determine the final
staging from 0 to IV.
- Stage 0 is noninvasive breast cancer, that is, carcinoma in situ
with no affected lymph nodes or metastasis. This is the most favorable stage of
- Stage I is breast cancer that is less than 2 cm (3/4 in) in
diameter and has not spread from the breast.
- Stage II is breast cancer that is
fairly small in size but has spread to lymph nodes in the armpit or cancer that
is somewhat larger but has not spread to the lymph nodes.
- Stage III is breast
cancer of a larger size, greater than 5 cm (2 in), with greater lymph node
involvement, or of the inflammatory type.
- Stage IV is metastatic breast
cancer: a tumor of any size or type that has metastasized to another part of the
body. This is the least favorable stage.
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