Breast Cancer Stages

Breast cancer stages are used to specify the extent of the cancer in a patient’s body. They are also used to determine a patient’s prognosis as well as the best course of treatment. Each stage is assigned a numerical value – the higher the number, the more invasive the cancer and, generally, the more intensive treatment will have to be.

The following explains the approximate extent of cancer at each of the breast cancer stages:

  • Stage 0 breast cancer – The cancer is a ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). At this stage, the cancer has not spread out of these areas, making it highly treatable.
  • Stage I breast cancer – The cancer has become invasive and spread to normal surrounding breast tissue. At this stage, the cancer may not yet have spread to any lymph nodes or has begun to spread to a single lymph node, so it will typically still be very receptive to treatment.
  • Stage II breast cancer – The cancer has become slightly more extensive than in stage I and may have spread to several lymph nodes.
  • Stage III breast cancer – The cancer has spread outside of the breast tissue but has not metastasized to other organs.
  • Stage IV breast cancer – The cancer has become a metastatic malignancy and spread to other organs in the body.

At Tampa General Hospital, we offer comprehensive and multidisciplinary treatment for patients with all stages of breast cancer. Each patient receives a unique treatment plan that is tailored to their needs and designed by an experienced team of surgeons, radiation oncologists, and other cancer specialists. For a physician referral or to make an appointment, please call (813) 844-2200.