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Breast Cancer Treatment

There are many options for treating hereditary cancers. Choice of treatment can be personalized based on cancer type, stage and genetics.

Breast cancer stages

The stage of a cancer refers to whether the cancer has spread beyond the breast, and if so, where in the body the cancer has spread.

In breast cancer, there are five major stages.  

  • Stage 0: A stage 0 breast cancer is known as a ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a non-invasive form of the disease. The tumor cells are contained within the ducts of the breasts, and have not invaded beyond the duct. Cancers caught andtreated at stage 0 are very unlikely to recur or spread.
  • Stage I: A stage I breast cancer is a small tumor (£ 2 cm) that is contained within the breast.
  • Stage II: A stage II breast cancer can be either a larger tumor that involves the breast only, or a tumor that also involves the low-lying lymph nodes in the armpit.
  • Stage III: A stage III breast cancer can be either a tumor in the breast that invades the skin or pectoral muscle, or a tumor that more extensively involve the regional lymph node area surrounding the breast (in the armpit, near the collarbone, near the breast bone). Stage III breast cancers are generally considered “locally advanced.”
  • Stage IV or metastatic: A stage IV breast cancer is one that has spread beyond the breast and the regional lymph node area to a distant site in the body, such as the bone, lung, and/or liver.  Stage IV breast cancers are also called “advanced” or “metastatic.”

Generally, breast cancer in stages I to III are considered potentially curable so all treatment recommendations for breast cancer in these stages are made with the goal of cure.  Stage IV or metastatic breast cancer is considered treatable, and there are many ongoing clinical trials focused on this stage of the disease.

Updated 01/05/2018

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