Knowing the type, size and spread of cancer helps doctors determine a course of treatment. No matter the stage of the tumor at the time of diagnosis, there are aggressive, effective therapies available. Doctors describe breast cancer as being:
- Local: The cancer is found only in the breast.
- Regional: The cancer has spread to the axillary nodes under the arm.
- Distant: The cancer has metastasized or spread to other parts of the body.
Types of Breast Cancer
- Ductal Carcinoma – Occurs in the ducts of the breast, which are the tubes that transport milk to the nipple.
- Lobular Carcinoma – Occurs in the lobules where the milk is made.
- Ductal Carcinoma-In-Situ – Refers to the earliest type of breast cancer where cells that have the characteristics of cancer are found confined in the breast ducts. These cells do not have the potential to spread because they have not broken through the membrane and they are confined.
- Invasive Cancers – Refers to those ductal or lobular cancers that have broken through the membrane around the ducts or lobules. Invasive cancer does not necessarily mean the cancer has metastasized or spread to other parts of the body. That is determined by tests including examination of the tissues such as the lymph nodes under the arm and CAT scans, bone scans and ultrasounds.
Stages of Breast Cancer
There are five stages of breast cancer, each increasing in severity.
- Stage 0 involves only a small cluster of cancer cells in the duct or lobule.
- Stage 1 is a tumor smaller than 2 cm.
- Stage 2 is a tumor up to 5 cm that has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
- Stage 3 is a tumor of any size that may have spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
- Stage 4 is a tumor of any size that has metastasized and has gone to other tissues besides the breast and lymph nodes.
To make an appointment at the Breast Care Center, contact us at 941-745-7391.
Nurse Navigator is Here To Help
An Oncology Nurse Navigator is on call to offer you and your family personalized assistance from the moment you call or visit. Our Oncology Nurse Navigator helps schedule tests for patients and can help guide them and their families through healthcare decisions.