The stage of a breast cancer can be based either on the results of physical exam, biopsy, and imaging tests (called the clinical stage), or on the results of these tests plus the results of surgery (called the pathologic stage).The tumor node metastasis (TNM) staging system for breast cancer categorizes tumors on the basis of primary tumor characteristics (T), the presence or absence of regional lymph node involvement (N), and the presence or absence of distant metastases (M). The overall stage of the tumor (stage I through IV) is determined by the combination of T, N, and M grades.
The 7th edition of the TNM staging system is the most recent version and was approved by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) for use beginning January 1, 2010. It replaces the 6th edition of the TNM staging system which was used prior to January, 2010.
The following graphs represent the staging at diagnosis for 2006 and 2011 breast cases diagnosed or treated at Manatee Memorial Hospital: