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Breast cancer staging

Breast cancer is staged using the TNM staging system and then into stage groupings.

TNM staging
Primary tumour (T)
  • Tx : primary tumour cannot be assessed
  • T0 : no evidence of primary tumour
  • Tis : carcinoma in situ
  • T1
    • T1a : 0.1 - 0.5 cm
    • T1b : 0.5 - 1.0 cm
    • T1c : 1.0 -  2.0 cm
  • T2 : 2 - 5 cm
  • T3 : > 5 cm
  • T4 : any size 
    • T4a : chest wall fixation no oedema 
    • T4b : oedema (peau d'orange change) or satellite skin nodules
    • T4c : T4a and T4b
    • T4d : inflammatory breast cancer
Nodal status (N)
  • Nx : nodes cannot be assessed
  • N0 : no evidence of nodal involvement
  • N1 : mobile axillary lymph nodes
  • N2 : fixed / matted axillary lymph nodes OR ipsilateral internal mammary artery lymph nodes
  • N3 : (a) infraclavicular (b) ipsilateral IMA + axilla (c) supraclavicular
Metastases (M)
  • Mx : presence of metastases cannot be assessed
  • M0 : no evidence of metastases
  • M1 : distant metastases present
AJCC stage groupings
  • stage 0
    • Tis, N0, M0 
  • stage I 
    • T1, N0, M0
  • stage IIA
    • T0, N1, M0
    • T1, N1, M0
    • T2, N0, M0
  • stage IIB
    • T2, N1, M0
    • T3, N0, M0
  • stage IIIA
    • T0-2, N2, M0
    • T3, N1-2, M0
  • stage IIIB
    • T4, N0-2, M0
  • stage IIIC
    • T0-4, N3, M0
  • stage IV
    • T0-4, N0-3, M1
Survival

Estimated 5 year survival rates are as

  • stage I : ~ 87% 
  • stage II : ~ 75%  
  • stage III : ~ 46%  
  • stage IV : ~ 13%  

See also

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