The stage of breast cancer is a crucial factor in making decisions about the patients’treatment. In general, the further the breast cancer has been spread, the more treatment the patient will likely need. Anyhow, the patient’s treatment options are affected by their personal preferences and other information about the person breast cancer, like:
- If the cancer cells consist of hormone receptors (i.e., if the cancer is ER-positive or PR-positive)
- If the cancer cells have huge amounts of the HER2 protein (i.e., if the cancer is HER2-positive)
- Patients overall health
Consult with the doctor about how these factors can affect the breast cancer treatment options.
Different Stages of Treatment
These breast cancers are still comparatively small, and they have not spread to the lymph nodes or have a tiny partof cancer spread in the sentinel lymph node.
An operation is the first cure for stage-I breast cancer. These cancers can be cured with either breast-conserving surgery (BCS) or mastectomy. The nearby lymph nodes will also be required to be checked, either with an axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) or sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB).
In some cases, breast revamps can be performed during the operation to remove cancer. However, if the patient will need radiation therapy following the operation, it is usually better to wait to get reconstruction until post the radiation is complete.
If BCS is performed, radiation therapy is given to people who are up to 70 years of age. Consider BCS without radiation therapy if all of these were true:
- The tumor was 2 cm or less across, and it has been removed
- The tumor consists of hormone receptors, and hormone therapy is given.
- None of the lymph nodes removed contained cancer.
These breast cancers are much greater than stage-I cancers and have spread to a few nearby lymph nodes.
Local therapy (surgery and radiation therapy)
Stage II cancers are cured with either breast-conserving surgery. The nearby lymph nodes will also require being checked, either with a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) or an axillary lymph node dissection (ALND).
Women who have BCS are treated with radiation therapy following surgery. Women who have a mastectomy are usually treated with radiate on if the cancer is detected in the lymph nodes. Some patients having an SLNB shows that cancer in a few lymph nodes may not have the rest of their lymph nodes detached (ALND) to check for more cancer. In these patients, radiation may be discussed as an option after mastectomy.
In stage III breast cancer, the tumor is big (more than 5 cm), developing into nearby tissues (the skin over the breast), or cancer has spread to many nearby lymph nodes.
If they have inflammatory breast cancer: Stage III cancers also include some inflammatory breast cancers that haven’t spread beyond nearby lymph nodes. Treatment of these cancers can be somewhat different from the treatment of other stage III breast cancers.