Breast Cancer Stages

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer that affects women. 
Over the past few decades, leaps and bounds have been made in the
advancement of breast cancer treatment and now there is a very high
success rate of women who have been cured from breast cancer.  The
severity of breast cancer usually depends upon what stage of the
disease that the cancer is found.  There are 4 stages of breast cancer,
some stages having varying levels of severity.

Stage 0 of
breast cancer is used to describe a stage of breast cancer in which
there is not any evidence of the breast cancer cells breaking out
beyond the place of the breast in which the cancer started and has not
invaded any neighboring tissue.

Stage I of breast cancer
can be described as invasive cancer in which the cancer cells have
moved to other parts of the breast.  At this stage the tumor can
measure up to two centimeters but the lymph nodes of the breast have
not yet been affected.

Stage II of breast cancer is when the
tumor is at least 2 centimeters in diameter but no more than five
centimeters.  At this point cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under
the arm.  While the lymph nodes are now affected, they have not yet
stuck together or affected the surrounding tissue.

Stage III
of breast cancer can actually be divided into two stages commonly
referred to Stage IIIA and Stage IIIB.  Stage IIIA is a form of
invasive cancer in which the tumor is over 5 centimeters and there is a
lot of involvement with the lymph nodes which have begun to stick
together and affect the surrounding tissue.  Stage IIIB is differs
slightly and refers to invasive breast cancer in which the breast
cancer tumor has begun to spread to the chest wall, skin, or mammary
lymph nodes.

The final stage of breast cancer is when the invasive
breast cancer has spread beyond the underarm, breast and mammary lymph
nodes and may have spread to other body parts such as the lungs, liver,
bone, or even the brain.