Breast Cancer Stages
Stage I is often referred to as early-stage cancer. It is usually a small cancer or tumor that has not grown deeply into nearby tissues or spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
Stages II and III cancers have extended beyond the immediate region of the tumor and may have invaded nearby lymph nodes and muscles but have not spread to distant organs. Typically, both stages indicate that larger cancers or tumors have grown more deeply into nearby tissue.
Stage IV is advanced or metastatic cancer that has already spread to other distant parts of the body from where it was first diagnosed.
Sometimes cancer doctors will use the term “restaging”, but it’s important to understand that once a stage is determined, it never changes. The cancer may grow or shrink, spread to other organs, or come back after treatment, but it will still be referred to as it was originally staged. Restaging refers to the process of determining the current extent and nature of the cancer, either after treatment or over time. Though the term restaging can be misleading, the information is still highly valuable in determining whether the cancer is stable, has gotten better or worse, or returned. Restaging guides treatment strategies such as when to start or discontinue therapy.