breast cancer stage and survival rate

Breast Cancer Stages and 5-year Life Expectancy Rate

Cancer stages classify how much cancer there is in the body, where it is spread in the body.

It is also called the extent of cancer. Tests find out the size and shape of the tumor, whether cancer has spread, from where it is started, etc. on the basis of these data, the stage of the cancer is planned.

Staging of Breast cancer

The most common staging system for the breast is the TNM system. For breast cancer, there are 5 stages started from 0 to 4 and also have sub stages.

T (tumor) = How large and where is the tumor located.

N (Node) = Tumor spread to the other node.

M (Metastasis) = Cancer spreads to the other body parts.

Stage 0

Stage 0- Any one of the following applies

  • Cancerous cells only in the lining of the breast duct.
  • Abnormal cells build up in the breast lobules.
  • Paget diseases of the breast without any invasive carcinoma.

Stages I

Stage IA- When the tumor is invasive and small, and spread to the node.

Stage IB– Tumor is smaller than 2 cm or no tumor found in the breast. Small number of tumor cells spread to the lymph nodes, but cancerous cells are smaller than 2mm.

Stage II

Stage IIA- Tumor is 20 mm or larger but smaller than 50mm (5cm). The tumor has spread to to 1-3 lymph nodes or Tumor has spread to axillary nodes. but smaller than 20mm.

Stage IIB- Tumor is larger than 20 mm and smaller than 50 mm, and cancer has spread to the 1-3 axillary lymph nodes, internal mammary lymph nodes nodes or both areas

Stage III

Stage IIIA- Tumor is smaller than 50 mm but has spread to the 4-9 axillary lymph nodes or tumor is larger than 50 mm but spread to only in 4-9 lymph nodes.

Stage IIIB- Tumor has spread into the muscles of the chest or skin or in both. The tumor may have spread to the 1-9 lymph nodes or in the 1-3 lymph nodes.

Stages IIIC- When any one condition is true

  • When the tumor has spread to the more than 9 lymph nodes or to the infraclavicular lymph nodes)
  • When cancerous cell spread to the supraclavicular lymph nodes (lymph nodes above the collarbone)
  • When the tumor has spread to the 3 axillary nodes and internal mammary lymph nodes.

Stage IV

Metastatic stage- When cancer has spread to the other parts of the body such as bones, brain, lungs, liver etc. tumor can be any size.

Breast cancer survival rate

Breast cancer 5-year survival rate is 90%. It is combined survival rate for all the stage. The survival rate depends upon at which stage your cancer has been caught.

5-year survival rate tells you about the percentage of people live at least for 5 years after diagnosis of breast cancer.

Average 5 year survival rate for women with invasive breast cancer (DIS or LIS) is 90% and average 10-year survival rate is 83%.

If the cancer is located only in the breast and not spread to the other part of the body, the average 5-year survival rate of women is 99% and almost 62% of the breast cancer cases diagnosed at this.

If the cancer spread has spread to the nearby lymph nodes, then average 5-year survival rate is 85% and if the breast cancer is in metastatic stage (found in the other part of the body), average 5-year survival rate decrease drastically to the 27%. About 6% of breast cancer cases in women diagnosed at metastatic stage.

However, it is important to note that survival rate is based on the previous outcomes. On the basis of this, no one can predict a particular case-survival rate. For individual survival rate depend on the stage of cancer, gender, age, genetics.

Stage5-year life Expectancy for Women5-year life Expectancy for Men
Stage 0 & stage 199%100%
Stage 285%87%
Stage 372%75%
Stage 422%25%
All SEER stage combined90%

American cancer society

[showhide hidden=”yes” more_text=”Source” less_text=”Source”]

American Cancer Society “Survival Rates for Breast Cancer” “”

Cancer.Net  “Breast Cancer: Statistics”  “”

HealthyLifeNU “Breast cancer: Facts” “


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