Very early breast cancer. This type of cancer has not spread within or outside the breast. It is sometimes called DCIS, LCIS or breast cancer in situ or noninvasive cancer.
The cancer is no larger than about one inch in size and has not spread outside the breast.
The doctor may find any of the following:
Stage III is divided into stages IIIA and IIIB:
The doctor may find either of the following:
The cancer has spread to other parts of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain. Or, the tumor has spread locally to the skin and lymph nodes inside the neck, near the collarbone.
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare, but very serious, aggressive type of breast cancer. The breast may look red and feel warm. You may see ridges, welts or hives on your breast; or the skin may look wrinkled. It is sometimes misdiagnosed as a simple infection.
Recurrent disease means that the cancer has come back (recurred) after it has been treated. It may come back in the breast, in the soft tissues of the chest (the chest wall) or in another part of the body.
Many breast cancers being found are very early cancers known as breast cancer in situ or noninvasive cancer. Most of the cancers are found by mammography. These very early cells changes may become invasive breast cancer. Two types of breast cancer in situ are:
Most women who are treated for early breast cancer go on to live healthy, active lives. You may have more choices of treatment if your breast cancer is found early.
Treatments have changed over time. Today, many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer do not have to lose a breast. Because there are improved ways to treat breast cancer, it is more important than ever for you to learn all you can. Working with your team of medical specialists, you can play a key role in choosing the treatment that is best for you.
Once your doctor has determined your specific type and stage of breast cancer, you can begin to plan for your treatment and recovery. Your chance of recovery will depend on many factors, including:
The material in the above sections is taken in its entirety from the National Cancer Institute Booklet (No. 98-4251) entitled, "Understanding Breast Cancer Treatment: A Guide for Patients."
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.