Staging describes or classifies a cancer based on how much cancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. This is often called the extent of cancer. Information from tests is used to find out the size of the tumour, what part of the breast has cancer, whether the cancer has spread from where it first started and where the cancer has spread.
What grade is the breast cancer? What size is the breast cancer? Cancer cells are given a grade according to how different they are to normal breast cells and how quickly they are growing.
Staging and grading usually happens after your breast tumour has been removed by surgery, as a pathologist will need to test the tissue in a laboratory and examine it under a microscope. The grade of a tumour indicates what the cells look like and gives an idea of how quickly the cancer may grow and spread. Tumours are graded between 1 and 3. Grade 1 — the cancer cells look small and uniform like normal cells, and are usually slow-growing compared to other grades of breast cancer.
Once a person is determined to have a malignant tumor or the diagnosis of breast cancer, the healthcare team will determine staging to communicate how far the disease has progressed. Determining the stage helps determine the best way to contain and eliminate the breast cancer. If breast cancer has spread, or metastasizedevidence be may found in the bones, liver, lungs, or brain.
Cancer occurs when changes called mutations take place in genes that regulate cell growth. The mutations let the cells divide and multiply in an uncontrolled way. Breast cancer is cancer that develops in breast cells.
Put simply, the stage describes how widespread or advanced the cancer is in the breast tissue and possibly other parts of your body. Determining the stage helps doctors explain the breadth of the cancer to you. Breast cancer is also classified according to other characteristics.
T followed by a number from 0 to 4 describes the main primary tumor's size and if it has spread to the skin or to the chest wall under the breast. This includes inflammatory breast cancer. N followed by a number from 0 to 3 indicates whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the breast and, if so, how many lymph nodes are involved.