Stages of Breast Cancer

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 25 March 2021

Breast Cancer Stages

  • Early-stage, stage 0, or noninvasive breast cancer. There are no indications that the illness has progressed to the lymph nodes and it is just in the breast (carcinoma in situ).
  • Stage I breast cancer. The cancer is smaller than 2 centimetres in diameter and hasn’t spread.
  • Stage IIA breast cancer. The tumour is:
    • Smaller than 2 centimetres in diameter, and underarm lymph node involvement.
    • Without lymph node involvement, larger than 2 but smaller than 5 centimetres wide.
  • Stage IIB breast cancer. The tumour is:
    • Without involvement of the underarm lymph nodes, more than 5 centimetres across.
    • Lymph node involvement, greater than 2 but less than 5 centimetres across.

  • Stage IIIA breast cancer or locally advanced breast cancer:
    • A tumour that has spread to lymph nodes under the arm or near the breastbone and is greater than 5 centimetres.
    • Any tumour of any scale of cancerous lymph nodes that adhere to one another or to surrounding tissue.
  • Stage IIIB breast cancer. A tumour that has extended to the skin or chest wall.
  • Stage IIIC breast cancer. A tumour that has extended farther and involves lymph nodes extension.
  • Stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer. A tumour that has extended farther and to other organs like lungs, bones, brains, liver or other distant lymph nodes.


Referenced on 25.3.2021

  1. American Cancer Society: “Learn about Cancer: Breast Cancer."
  2. National Cancer Institute: “Breast Cancer."
  3. CDC: “Breast Cancer."
  4. “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”
  5. Cleveland Clinic: “Breast Cancer.”
  6. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners: “Breast Cancer Subtypes.”
  7. CDC: “Breast Cancer: How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?”
  8. American Cancer Society: “What Is Breast Cancer?”
  9. Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology: “Breast Cancer,” “Breast Cancer In-Situ.”
  10. National Cancer Institute: “Cancer Stat Facts: Female Breast Cancer.”
  11. Mayo Clinic: “Breast cancer.”

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