Breast Cancer Stages


When you have breast cancer, we rate your cancer on a scale from 0 to IV. This is the "stage" of your cancer. It tells us a little bit about your cancer, and helps us decide on a care plan. Let's learn about the five basic stages.

Stage 0

We start with stage 0. This is for precancerous cells, and for cancers we describe as "non-invasive." A stage 0 cancer shows no signs of spreading to other tissues or parts of your body.

Stage I

Moving up the scale, we reach stage I. This is the first category of "invasive" cancers. These are cancers that are spreading. With a stage I cancer, cells have spread from the tumor to the healthy tissue directly around it. But this cancer is in a small area.

Stage II

A stage II cancer is one that has grown a bit larger and has spread a bit more. At this stage, it may have spread to a few nearby lymph nodes.

Stage III

Stage III is for breast cancer that is larger and spreading more. It may be in several lymph nodes. It may have caused changes in your skin. You may see redness, swelling and a skin lesion.

Stage IV

Stage IV is the most advanced stage. This is cancer that has spread from your breast to other parts of your body. It may have spread to your organs or bones.


To learn more about the stages of breast cancer, talk to your doctor.