The stage of breast cancer tells your doctor special characteristics about the tumor. Breast cancer is broken down into five stages, with each stage representing the extent of the tumor in your body. Higher stages means the cancer is more advanced, but each stage requires treatment and dedication for the best possible outcome.
Knowing the breast cancer’s stage allows your doctor at Dignity Health North State to make an informed decision about your treatment. To locate an oncology specialist who’s experienced in the different stages of breast cancer in Northern California, use our convenient Find a Doctor tool.
Stages of Breast Cancer
Biopsy results, quality imaging exams, and blood test results all help your doctor define your stage of cancer.
These four main factors determine how advanced the cancer is:
- Whether the cancer has spread to other organs
- Whether the cancer in noninvasive or invasive
- If the cancer is in your lymph nodes
- The size of the cancer
The earliest stage of breast cancer, stage 0, is noninvasive breast cancer, meaning it hasn’t spread outside of the milk ducts. Surgery is a standard treatment option for stage 0 breast cancer. Your doctor may also recommend hormone therapy or radiation.
Stage I is an early invasive cancer. The tumor is still small, but has spread to nearby breast tissue. Surgery and radiation are usually the first options for treatment. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy may be used after the main treatment to kill remaining cancer cells.
Treatment for stage II breast cancer is often similar to treatment for stage one tumors. If the tumor is large, your doctor may first shrink the tumor, so surgery can successfully remove all of it. Making the tumor smaller before surgery is also a breast-conserving approach.
In this stage, the tumor has spread to nearby tissues and lymph nodes. Although stage III is an advanced form of breast cancer, the tumor has not reached distant body sites. Surgery followed by radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy is a common treatment option for stage three breast cancer.
This stage means the cancer has grown beyond the breast and into nearly lymph nodes and organs. Because surgery is usually not an effective treatment for stage IV breast cancer, your doctor will focus shrinking the tumors and easing your symptoms. Our support groups at Mercy Medical Center Redding and St. Elizabeth Community Hospital can help you manage living with advanced breast cancer.
How the Stages of Breast Cancer Guide Your Treatment at Dignity Health North State
Our cancer care is rooted in compassion, dignity, and respect. Along with the stage of the cancer, your preferences will also help your doctor create an individualized plan of care.
Contact Dignity Health North State today to talk about your goals for treatment.
Dignity Health North State offers treatment for breast cancer stages in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.