Breast Cancer Stages: Symptoms and Treatment

Breast Cancer
February 22, 2021
5 min read
Breast Cancer Stages: Symptoms and Treatment

After all the self-exams, mammograms, and doctor's appointments, the news comes back: breast cancer. What’s next? What will I go through? What do I do? These questions and your feelings are valid. It is okay to have some anxiety about this development but read on to find out the next steps and stages of treatment.


Each type of breast cancer can cause a variety of symptoms. Depending on the person and the stage of cancer, symptoms can vary. Symptoms for the most common breast cancers include:

· a breast lump or tissue thickening

· breast pain

· red, pitted skin over your entire breast

· swelling in all or part of your breast

· nipple discharge other than breast milk

· bloody discharge from your nipple

· peeling, scaling, or flaking of skin on your nipple or breast

· a sudden, unexplained change in the shape or size of your breast

· inverted nipple

· changes to the appearance of the skin on your breasts

· a lump or swelling under your arm

Stage 0

Stage 0 is the earliest breast cancer stage. The mass isn’t bothersome and you may not see or feel it. There aren’t many symptoms, if any. A doctor will observe it during an exam.

Options for treatment:

·        Breast-conserving surgery: A surgeon removes the small tumor and a small amount of breast tissue.

·        Simple mastectomy: A surgeon will remove the entire breast. This will only be done in dangerous circumstances.

Stage 1

This is the earliest stage of breast cancer. At this stage, the cancer cells have spread beyond the original location and into the surrounding breast tissue. Because a stage I tumor is small, it may be difficult to detect.

Options for treatment:

·        Mastectomy

·        Chemotherapy

Stage 2

Known as invasive breast cancer, the tumor in this stage measures between 2 cm to 5 cm, or cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer. However, stage II means cancer has not spread to a distant part of the body.

Options for treatment:

·        Chemotherapy

·        Targeted drugs

·        Hormone therapy

Stage 3

Known as advanced breast cancer, the tumor in this stage of breast cancer is more than 2inches in diameter across. The cancer is now spreading to the underarm and tissue in the breast. Stage III breast cancer is a more advanced form and at this stage, the cancer cells have usually not spread too far, but they are present in underarm lymph nodes.

Option for treatment:

·        Neoadjuvant therapy

·        Radiation therapy

·        Hormone therapy

·        Surgery to remove breast

Stage 4

Known as metastatic breast cancer, this stage has spread beyond the breast, underarm, and to other parts of the body. Surgery is one of the top suggestions. This stage is the worst-case scenario.

Options for treatment:

·        Hormone therapy

·        Chemotherapy (chemo)

·        Targeted drugs

·        Some combination of these

Learn More About Birth Control and Breast Cancer

At BASS Medical Group, our doctors and specialists are here for you throughout this difficult time. Our staff is here to give you the hope you need, the treatment you deserve, and the healing we all strive for. Get in touch with us today at(925) 350-4044 to find out how we can assist you.