Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 26 March 2021
Table of contents
Breast Cancer: Treatment by Stage
Breast cancer is a complicated condition that affects each woman differently. Your doctor will want to determine the extent of the tumour and how much it has spread across the body before beginning treatment. This is referred to as the cancer staging. There are five basic stages, numbered 0 to 4, as well as some sub-stages.
The term “staging" refers to how doctors explain your condition. However, it does not reveal the whole picture. Before recommending treatments for you, the doctor will weigh a variety of considerations, including:
- type of breast cancer
- speed of cancer growth
- your age
- your overall health
- if you have had breast cancer in the past
- If the tumour contains female hormones or other genetic factors that enable it to develop more rapidly, such as the HER2 oncogene.
Stage 0 Breast Cancer Treatment Options
Breast cancer in stage 0 is a form of cancer that is still in its early stages. You do not need treatment if you have either of the two kinds of form 0 breast cancer. If you do, it’ll usually be successful.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): When irregular cells arise in the breast ducts, it is called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The phrase “in situ" means “in its initial place." It's likely that the cells will grow into aggressive cancer, which means that they will spread to healthy tissue. As a result, you can get care as soon as possible.
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): When irregular cells occur in the lobes of the breast but nowhere else, it's called lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). There may be no signs or symptoms of a tumour, and the mammogram may not show any changes. It's often discovered during a breast biopsy for another reason. Women with LCIS can see a specialist on a regular basis for checkups and explore treatment choices. LCIS raises the possibility of developing a cancer that can spread to both breasts.
Typical DCIS treatments are:
Surgery. Smaller DCIS tumours can be treated with a lumpectomy, which involves the removal of the irregular cells as well as some breast tissue. Some people opt for a mastectomy, which requires the removal of the breast. You can opt to get breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy.
Radiation therapy: A lumpectomy is normally followed by radiation therapy. The radiation destroys any suspicious cells that were missed during the biopsy which reduces the likelihood of developing another breast cancer.
Hormone therapy: Hormone treatment following surgery can also help to avoid the spread of cancer to the other breast.
Treatments for LCIS are:
Hormone therapy: Hormone treatment may help to reduce the risk of invasive cancer.
Double mastectomy. Surgery is often used to extract tissue from the LCIS area. Since they are concerned about developing invasive cancer, certain people at high risk for breast cancer opt for a double mastectomy, which requires the removal of both breasts. They might have a long family history of breast cancer, or they may have BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic variants. Some patients chose to undergo breast reconstruction procedures following their surgery.
Talk with your doctor about what’s right for you.
Referenced on 25.3.2021
- American Cancer Society: “Learn about Cancer: Breast Cancer."
- National Cancer Institute: “Breast Cancer."
- CDC: “Breast Cancer."
- BreastCancer.org: “Breast Cancer Stages,” “IDC Type: Cribriform Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Medullary Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Mucinous Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Papillary Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast,” “Male Breast Cancer,” “Metastatic Breast Cancer,” “Molecular Subtypes of Breast Cancer,” “Phyllodes Tumors of the Breast,” “U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics”
- Cleveland Clinic: “Breast Cancer.”
- Breast Cancer Prevention Partners: “Breast Cancer Subtypes.”
- CDC: “Breast Cancer: How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?”
- American Cancer Society: “What Is Breast Cancer?”
- Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology: “Breast Cancer,” “Breast Cancer In-Situ.”
- National Cancer Institute: “Cancer Stat Facts: Female Breast Cancer.”
- Mayo Clinic: “Breast cancer.”