The stages of breast cancer are used to determine prognosis and treatment. There are five breast cancer stages, with higher stages indicating a more extensive disease. People with lower stages of breast cancer have a better chance of responding positively to treatment.
At Dignity Health, our oncologists focus on early detection using the latest diagnostic imaging technology, along with blood tests and biopsy results, to catch and monitor abnormal breast tissue changes. Even the least invasive breast tumors are aggressively monitored for the slightest changes.
If you or a loved one would like to learn how we diagnose breast cancer stages in Arizona, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health today.
Stages of Breast Cancer
At Dignity Health, our oncologists use the results of tumor staging to determine treatment options customized to your specific disease and preferences.
The stage of your breast cancer depends on:
- If the cancer is invasive or noninvasive
- Whether it has spread to other organs
- The size of the cancer
- Whether the cancer cells are in your lymph nodes
The earliest form of breast cancer, Stage 0, is known as noninvasive breast cancer. Also called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), this stage forms in the milk ducts and remains in place. Treatment may involve surgery and radiation with hormone therapy.
Stage I is the beginning of invasive breast cancer. During this stage, the cancer begins forming in nearby breast tissues. While the tumor remains small, oncologists usually treat stage I with surgery and radiation, followed by hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy to eliminate any surviving cancer cells.
Stage II breast cancer is another early invasive form, characterized by a tumor that is either larger than stage I or has spread to nearby lymph nodes. Treatment options are very similar to stage I. In some cases, neoadjuvant therapy (treatment before surgery) may be recommended, with hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapies to shrink the tumor before surgeons remove it. This allows women to try breast-conserving surgery before a mastectomy.
Known as locally advanced breast cancer, stage III means the cancer has spread to surrounding lymph nodes and tissues, but not to distant parts of the body. Doctors at Dignity Health may recommend neoadjuvant therapy and mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy, radiation, hormone, or immune-targeted therapy.
During this final stage, referred to as metastatic breast cancer, the cancer cells have advanced beyond the breast and into nearby lymph nodes, organs, and other areas. Treatment for stage IV breast cancer focuses on shrinking tumors, reducing symptoms, and helping you live longer.
Discuss how your treatment options may affect your lifestyle with your doctor. Together, you can determine a strategy that fits your personal preferences.
Skilled oncologists at Dignity Health are committed to personalized cancer treatment with a human touch for all breast cancer stages in Arizona.