Breast Cancer: Understanding The Different Stages Of This Cancer From 0 To IV

Breast cancer affects a large population of women today. This cancer can be classified into 5 stages based on the severity of the cancer. Read here to know these.

Breast Cancer: Understanding The Different Stages Of This Cancer From 0 To IV

Mammography can help detect breast cancer at an early stage


  • Breast cancer is divided into 5 stages
  • Change in shape of breast is sing of breast cancer
  • At the last stage breast cancer can spread to other organs as well

Cancer that develops in the cells of the breast is breast cancer. This form of cancer can affect both women and men but the number of cases in men is very few. According to WHO, breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women impacting 2.1 million women each year and also causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women. It is important to create awareness about breast cancer so that it can be detected early. Early diagnosis can help in controlling cancer on time and help save lives.

Breast cancer can be divided into five stages based on how much cancer has spread. Doctors classify the stages of cancer-based on several factors such as the size of the tumour, whether the cancer is invasive or not, has cancer spread to nearby tissue or organ and much more. Here are the five stages of breast cancer you need to know.

Breast cancer: The 5 stages of breast cancer

1. Stage 0

At this stage, it is difficult to detect cancer. In this stage, the cancer is limited to the ducts of the breasts without affecting any other tissue. Therefore, this stage is referred as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). At this stage, the cancer is described as non-invasive.


Early diagnosis can help treating the cancer on time
Photo Credit: iStock

2. Stage 1

This is the primary stage of the tumour in which the size of the tumour is up to or less than 2 centimetres wide. There is also a possibility of the development of small groups of cancer cells in the lymph nodes.

Also read: Consumption Of Milk Has Been Linked To Breast Cancer Risk, But It May Be Too Soon To Worry- Nutritionists Explain Why

3. Stage 2

At this stage, the tumour is around 2 centimetres affecting 1-3 lymph nodes nearby. In some cases, the size of the tumour can be between 2-5 centimetres without affecting lymph nodes.

4. Stage 3

The cancer spreads to different axillary lymph nodes and the size of the tumour may vary. In other cases the size of tumour is more than 5 centimetres, affecting 1-3 axillary lymph nodes.


At stage three the size of the tumour increases
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Eating Yogurt Daily May Cut Breast Cancer Risk, Claims Study; Know Other Impressive Health Benefits Of Adding Yogurt To Your Diet

5. Stage 4

This is a severe stage when the cancer has spread properly and may also affect distant organs like liver, lungs or brain. It may also harm the bones.

It is advised that every woman must get mammography done at least once to diagnose the condition at any early stage.

Also read: Breast Cancer: What Puts You At A Higher Risk Of Breast Cancer? Know Some Prevention Steps

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.