What are Breast Cancer Stages?

Susan K. Williford, M.D., Medical Oncologist Explains

Understanding Breast Cancer Stages

Breast cancer is staged from zero to four. Stage zero breast cancer is non invasive breast cancer when it stays in the ducts of the breast. Often this is ductal carcinoma in situ.

Stage one is a tumor less than or equal to 2 centimeters which is a little bit smaller than an inch. Stage two breast cancer is greater than two centimeters up to 5 centimeters or with lymph nodes involved under the arm. Stage 3 breast cancer is locally advanced. Stage four breast cancer means it has spread outside the chest wall into other organs.

How do I know my current stage?

Usually, your exact stage will be communicated to you by your oncologist or will clearly appear in your medical records. If your disease has spread to other organs, such as the bones, lungs, brain, liver, or distant lymph nodes, you have metastatic disease (stage 4). 

  • Stage 0
  • Stage 1
  • Stage 2a
  • Stage 2b
  • Stage 3a
  • Stage 3b
  • Stage 3c
  • Stage 4 (metastatic)

Ready to Own Your Breast Cancer Journey?

  1. Complete the breast cancer questionnaire.
  2. Get your list of advanced breast cancer treatment options.
  3. Compare treatments of patients like you.
  4. Learn about the treatment or trial that’s right for you.
  5. Get the guidance you need.

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