Tumors that grow uncontrollably in and around the breast tissue are called breast cancers. It is likely that cancers that are more advanced have also spread to other tissues.
One of the most common cancers in women is breast cancer. Breast cancer affects millions of women annually. Fortunately, around 90% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer survive five years later.
Doctors can examine cancer patients as a group, defined by the characteristics of their cancers when they were first diagnosed, with staging cancers. They can then investigate these groups to comprehend their prognosis and discover the most effective treatment options for their cancers.
Staging breast cancer
The size, extent, and other characteristics of the tumor, such as its genetics, all play a role in determining the stage of Breast cancer. The clinical stage of cancer is determined through a physical exam, a biopsy (the removal of a small tissue sample for analysis in a lab), and imaging tests. These imaging tests may include X-rays, computed tomography (CT), positron-emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasound.
The pathologic or surgery stage of cancer is determined after surgery. Your breast cancer stage will either be confirmed or updated as a pathologic stage following surgery using the features found and any additional information about how far the cancer has spread, gathered during surgery.
Breast cancer stages are typically expressed as numbers ranging from 0 to IV, with stage 0 for non-invasive cancers that remain in their original location and stage IV for invasive cancers that have spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body.
TMN system of staging
The TNM system is commonly used in cancer staging. This system defines three characteristics of cancer in a way that is applicable to other solid cancers.
Each of the three letters is assigned a number, so any given cancer can be described by these three factors, with the numbers associated with these three letters indicating how advanced a particular feature is. An “X” indicates that the characteristic cannot be measured.
- The “T” in TNM refers to the primary tumor, which was the first cancer to develop. The main tumor’s size and the extent of its spread within an organ’s layers will be measured by doctors. The size and extent of the main tumor’s growth are described by a T measurement between 0 and 4.A value of 0 indicates that the primary tumor cannot be identified or described.
- The letter “N” stands for the lymph nodes, which are tiny balls of tissue that serve as a home for immune cells and filter the fluids that the immune system produces. Because lymph nodes are one of the main places where cancer spreads throughout the body, they are frequently the first place where cancer begins to spread beyond its origin.10 An N number between 1 and 3 indicates the number of lymph nodes where cancer has spread.
- The M (metastasis) classification indicates whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body: MX means metastasis can’t be examined, M0 means there is no metastasis at all, M1 means that distant metastasis is present.
Generally, stage 0 cancer is defined as abnormal cells that have not begun to spread. Tumors in stages 1, 2, and 3 are cancerous and have proceeded to spread and grow larger. Cancers in stage 4 are generally the most advanced and have spread to distant parts of the body.
Consult a doctor
It is important to get a complete examination from a specialist each month. If you don’t get a regular checkup, do visit a doctor immediately when you sense something unusual or painful in your breasts.