The extent, or stage, of your breast cancer gives your doctor an idea of your prognosis — the likely outcome of your disease — and helps guide treatment decisions.
Your doctor determines your stage of breast cancer through examination of the tissue removed during a mastectomy or lumpectomy and of the lymph nodes under your arm.
Your breast cancer stage takes into account how large your cancer is and whether it has spread beyond your breast. Using this information, your doctor assigns a Roman numeral — I through IV — that describes your breast cancer stage.
MUST READ: Why Breast Cancer Kills So Many Black Women
You have stage I breast cancer if all of the following are true:
- The tumor is no more than 2 cm (3/4 inch) in diameter — about the size of a peanut without the shell.
- The cancer hasn’t spread to your lymph nodes.
- The cancer hasn’t spread outside your breast.
A stage II breast tumor is larger than a stage I tumor, but the cancer hasn’t spread to a distant part of your body. If your cancer is stage II, one of the following is true:
- The tumor is 2 to 5 cm (3/4 to 2 inches) in diameter. The cancer may or may not have spread to your underarm (axillary) lymph nodes.
- The tumor is more than 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter — about the size of a lime — but the cancer hasn’t spread to your axillary lymph nodes.
- The tumor is less than 2 cm (3/4 inch) in diameter, but the cancer has spread to no more than three of your axillary lymph nodes.
- No tumor is found in the breast, but breast cancer cells are detected in no more than three of your axillary lymph nodes.
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If you have stage III breast cancer, known as locally or regionally advanced cancer, your cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near your breast — those located under your arm or by your collarbone — but not to more-distant parts of your body.
Here are some examples:
- The tumor is larger than 5 cm (2 inches), with cancer cells that have spread to your axillary lymph nodes. However, the nodes aren’t attached to one another.
- The tumor is smaller than 5 cm (2 inches), but the cancer has spread into nearby lymph nodes and the nodes are growing into each other or the surrounding tissue (stroma).
- The tumor is smaller than 5 cm (2 inches), but the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes above your collarbone.
Inflammatory breast cancer is a form of cancer in which there may be no lump or mass felt in the breast. In inflammatory breast cancer, cancer cells block the lymphatic vessels in breast skin, causing swelling, redness, and ridged or dimpled skin. Inflammatory breast cancer is classified as stage III breast cancer.
Stage IV is the most advanced form of breast cancer.
At this stage, breast cancer cells have spread to other areas of your body. Breast cancer most often spreads to the bones, brain, liver and lungs. Stage IV breast cancer is also called metastatic breast cancer.
MUST READ: The REAL Facts About Breast Reconstruction
For more information about breast cancer, visit www.mayoclinic.org.
Also On HelloBeautiful:
Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"