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Breast cancer staging

Breast cancer staging uses 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 and 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

Treatment and prognosis:

Estimated five year survival rates:

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

See also

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