Breast cancer can be of two types: invasive lobular carcinoma and invasive ductal carcinoma. In invasive lobular carcinoma, the patient may suffer from cancer of the glands that produces milk called lobules, and the tumor cells grow in the tissues surrounding the lobules. In the invasive ductal carcinoma, the cancer starts from the milk ducts instead of lobules and the tumorous tissues grow to affect the tissues surrounding the ducts.
Ductal carcinoma in situ is the noninvasive breast cancer in which, the tumor is not spread to other parts of the body. Situ refers to the condition when the tumor is restricted to the ducts.
Breast cancer can be diagnosed at different stages and an early stage of disease indicates a high rate of survival. The various stages are stage 0, Stage I, stage II, stage III and stage IV. The approximate survival rate for stage 0 is 100%, stage I is 98 %, stage II is 88%, stage III is 53% and stage IV is 16%.
Stage 0: The stage zero cancer refers to carcinoma in situ .There is two types of cancer found in situ namely, intraductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma in situ. The lobular carcinoma in situ is also called carcinoma in situ. Patients suffering from stage 0 cancers are at a risk of developing cancer in next twenty-five years. Diagnosis at stage 0 may help the patient to recover completely.
Stage I: In stage I, the cancer is spread to two centimeters or one inch area but it is not found in the nearby lymph nodes.
Stage II: In the second stage, the medical practitioner tries to diagnose the different possibilities of the disease. It is divided in two categories Stage IIA and Stage IIB.
Stage IIA: The tumor may not have formed during this stage and the cancer is restricted to two centimeters area. Either it is limited to the breast or it spreads to the underarm lymph nodes.
Stage IIB: The cancer spreads from 2 centimeters to five centimeters and it spreads to the lymph nodes. Sometimes, the size of tumor increases but it does not spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage III: Stage III is divided in three categories:
Stage III A: There are three cases in stage IIIA -
1. The women may not have tumor but cancer spreads to auxiliary lymph nodes or
2. The cancer is small but it spreads to the lymph nodes or
3. The cancer is large and it spreads to the lymph nodes.
Stage IIIB: In the stage IIIB, the cancer spreads to the tissues close to the breast such as the ribs, chest and skin and sometimes, it spreads to the breast bone and the chest wall.
Stage IIIC: In this stage, the cancer spreads to the collarbone and it may even spread to the underarm breast tissues.
Stage IV: In stage IV, the cancer spreads to the lungs, liver and brain and sometimes, it spreads to nodes that are not close to the breasts.