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Breast cancer stages

  • Your doctors will use a variety of information like X-rays and biopsy results to determine the stage of your cancer.

    When diagnosed with breast cancer, you will be told what stage the cancer is at. This can help you and your care team determine your goals, treatment options and outlook.

    Classification

    Goal

    Treatment options

    Stage 0 or DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) is the earliest, most treatable stage of breast cancer.

    Cure the cancer and keep it from coming back.

     
    • lumpectomy or mastectomy
    • radiation therapy
     

    Stage I is when the breast cancer tumor is 2 centimeters wide or less. It has not spread to other areas of the body.

    Cure the cancer and keep it from coming back.

    • lumpectomy or mastectomy
    • radiation therapy
    • sentinel lymph node biopsy
    • chemotherapy
    • hormone therapy

    Stage II is when the breast cancer tumor is more than 2 centimeters wide. It has spread to nearby lymph nodes.

    Treat the cancer to keep it from coming back.

    • lumpectomy or mastectomy
    • radiation therapy
    • sentinel lymph node biopsy
    • chemotherapy
    • hormone therapy

    Stage III is when the breast cancer tumor is 5 centimeters wide or larger. It may have spread to nearby lymph nodes or grown into the chest wall or skin. Sometimes, the tumor cannot be found, but cancer is found in nearby lymph nodes or tissue.

    Treat the cancer and keep it from coming back.

    • lumpectomy or mastectomy
    • sentinel lymph node biopsy
    • chemotherapy
    • hormone therapy

    Stage IV is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. It is metastatic breast cancer; the cancer has spread to other organs or lymph nodes far from the breast.

    Alleviate symptoms and help lengthen life.

    • lumpectomy or mastectomy
    • sentinel lymph node biopsy
    • chemotherapy
    • hormone therapy
  • expand to learn more What does 'five-year relative survival rate' mean?

    expand to learn more What does 'metastatic breast cancer' mean?