NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Stages I and II Breast Cancer - page 10

8
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
Stages I and II Breast Cancer, Version 1.2014
1
Breast cancer basics
Stages I and II breast cancer | Review
Stages I and II breast cancer
Growth into the stroma
Cancer staging is a rating by your doctors of the
extent of the cancer. It is used to plan which tests may
be needed and which treatments are best for you.
The AJCC (
A
merican
J
oint
C
ommittee on
C
ancer)
staging system is used to stage breast cancer.
Rating of the cancer stage is often done twice. The
first rating is based on tests before treatment and is
called the clinical stage. Exactly how far the cancer
has spread and how many axillary lymph nodes have
cancer isn’t known until after surgery. Thus, your
doctors will rate the cancer again. This rating is called
the pathologic stage.
The focus of this book is on stages I and II breast
cancer. These breast cancers have grown into the
stroma but not into the breast skin or chest wall. The
cancer hasn’t spread to distant sites.
Stage I.
These breast tumors are 2 cm (
c
enti
m
eters)
or smaller in size. There are no signs of cancer in any
lymph nodes before surgery.
Stage IIA.
These breast tumors are no larger than
2 cm or no breast tumor has been found. However,
there are signs of cancer growth in the axillary lymph
nodes, but these nodes haven’t grown together or into
other tissues. Other stage IIA breast cancers include
tumors that are larger than 2 cm but no larger than 5
cm with no signs of cancer in lymph nodes.
Stage IIB.
These breast tumors are larger than 2 cm
but no larger than 5 cm. There are signs of cancer
growth in the axillary lymph nodes, but these nodes
haven’t grown together or into other tissues. Other
stage IIB cancers include breast tumors that are
larger than 5 cm with no signs of cancer in any nodes.
Review
• Inside of women’s breasts are milk ducts,
lobules that can make milk, and fatty tissue
called stroma.
• Breast cancer often starts in the milk ducts or
lobules and then spreads into the stroma.
• Breast cancer can spread outside the breast
through lymph or blood.
• Stages I and II breast cancer have grown
into the stroma but not into the breast skin or
chest wall.
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