How Should Caregivers Talk To Children About A Family Member’s Advanced Cancer
Children deserve to be told the truth about a family members prognosis so they can be prepared if their loved one dies. Its important to answer all of their questions gently and honestly so they dont imagine things that are worse than reality. They need to be reassured that they will be taken care of no matter what happens.
Caregivers need to be prepared to answer tough questions. To do this, they should know what their own feelings and thoughts are about the situation. They need to be able to show children how to hope for the best while preparing for and accepting that their loved one may die.
What Clinical Trials Are Available For Women With Inflammatory Breast Cancer
NCI sponsors clinical trials of new treatments for all types of cancer, as well as trials that test better ways to use existing treatments. Participation in clinical trials is an option for many patients with inflammatory breast cancer, and all patients with this disease are encouraged to consider treatment in a clinical trial.
Descriptions of ongoing clinical trials for individuals with inflammatory breast cancer can be accessed by searching NCIs list of cancer clinical trials. NCIs list of cancer clinical trials includes all NCI-supported clinical trials that are taking place across the United States and Canada, including the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. For information about how to search the list, see Help Finding NCI-Supported Clinical Trials.
People interested in taking part in a clinical trial should talk with their doctor. Information about clinical trials is available from NCIs Cancer Information Service at 18004CANCER and in the NCI booklet Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies. Additional information about clinical trials is available online.
Anderson WF, Schairer C, Chen BE, Hance KW, Levine PH. Epidemiology of inflammatory breast cancer . Breast Diseases 2005 22:9-23.
What Causes Breast Cancer Recurrence
The goal of cancer treatments is to kill cancer cells. But, cancer cells are tricky. Treatments can reduce tumors so much that tests dont detect their presence. These weakened cells can remain in the body after treatment. Over time, the cells get stronger. They start to grow and multiply again.
Even surgery to remove a cancerous tumor isnt always 100% effective. Cancer cells can move into nearby tissue, lymph nodes or the bloodstream before surgery takes place.
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What Are Cancer Survival Statistics
A key part of making a prognosis is looking at survival rates. These are numbers researchers collect over many years in people with the same type of cancer. These numbers are based on large groups of people. For breast cancer, there are two main measurements:
Breast cancer survivalrates reflect the percentage of women who are alive 5 years or longer after their diagnosis. This means the numbers are based on women who were found to have breast cancer at least 5 years ago. Advances in diagnosing and treating cancer have led to steadily improving survival rates, so the outlook for women diagnosed today is likely better.
Relative survival rates donât take into account the cause of death. Theyâre a measure of the percentage of people with cancer who have lived for a certain time after diagnosis, compared with people who did not have cancer.
Treatment For Early Stage Breast Cancer
If you are diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, the aim of treatment is to remove the breast cancer and any other cancer cells that remain in the breast, armpit or other parts of the body but cannot be detected.
Treatment for early stage breast cancer can vary from person to person. The stage of your breast cancer is an important factor when making decisions about treatment. However, the most suitable treatment for you also depends on other factors, such as where the cancer is in the breast, the cancers grade, and whether the cancer is hormone receptor-positive, HER2 positive or triple-negative. Your doctor will also consider your age, general health and preferences.
Treatment for early breast cancer may involve:
Usually more than one treatment is used. Treatment may be given in different orders and combinations. Learn more about different treatment options here.
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Breast Cancer Tumor Grade
Following a mammogram, your medical provider will take a biopsy of breast tissue to analyze the tumor.
Doctors give cancer cells a grade to help them determine how fast the cancer is growing. Three features are graded and added together to get a score between 3 and 9.
- Grade 1: A score of 3, 4 or 5 means the cells are growing slowly.
- Grade 2: A score of 6 or 7 means the cells are growing moderately.
- Grade 3: A score of 8 or 9 means the cells are growing quickly.
Racial Inequity And Outlook
Racial inequities may also affect a persons outlook with breast cancer.
For example, in the U.S., the 5-year relative survival rate is around 92% for white women but 83% for Black women.
Inequities in healthcare are likely one reason behind this difference, according to the ACS.
Breast cancer incidence differs with age. Here are the percentages of people with breast cancer who died in the U.S. in 2019, categorized by age:
- under age 40 years: 3%
- 4049 years: 8%
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be frightening and overwhelming. However, it is important to get as much information as possible about the cancer itself, the next steps, and the treatment options available.
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What Is Stage Iv Breast Cancer
Stage IV is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. It has spread to nearby lymph nodes and to distant parts of the body beyond the breast. This means it possibly involves your organs such as the lungs, liver, or brain or your bones.
Breast cancer may be stage IV when it is first diagnosed, or it can be a recurrence of a previous breast cancer that has spread.
Survival Rates For Bone Cancer
Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain length of time after they were diagnosed. They don’t tell you how long a person will live, but they might help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.
Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they cant predict what will happen in any particular persons case. These statistics can be confusing and might raise more questions for you. Talk with your doctor about how these numbers might apply to your situation.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
You may want to ask your provider:
- What type of breast cancer recurrence do I have?
- Has the cancer spread outside the breast?
- What stage is the breast cancer?
- What is the best treatment for this type of breast cancer?
- What are the treatment risks and side effects?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Most breast cancer recurrences respond well to treatments. You may be able to try new drugs or combination therapies in development in clinical trials. Your healthcare provider can discuss the best treatment option based on your unique situation.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/24/2021.
Stage 3 Breast Cancer
Welcome back! This blog provides financial resources and information for people living with cancer. This post is the fifth in a series for information on breast cancer resources, which can be found at: . In this post I will focus on stage 3 breast cancer.
What is stage 3 breast cancer?
Stage 3 breast cancer is diagnosed when the cancer has grown in areas beyond the original tumor, usually in lymph nodes and muscle. It is a locally advanced cancer but often curable. The risk for cancer growing back is higher with stage 3 breast cancer, so follow-up after treatment is critical.
How is stage 3 breast cancer treated?
Stage 3 breast cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy , radiation and/or hormone therapy.
Surgery: Your cancer treatment team will determine if your cancer is operable or inoperable. If your breast surgeon believes that most or all the cancer can be removed with surgery, and your body can recover from a surgical procedure, a mastectomy will be scheduled. Recovery will take a minimum of 4-6 weeks. For more details on what to expect with mastectomy, go to: What to Expect During and After Mastectomy Surgery . Treatment is available even if your cancer is inoperable.
Expected Time Off:
Will I need short or long term resources?
Short Term Resources:
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Survival Rates Of Stage 3 Breast Cancer
According to data from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, breast cancer survival rates have improved significantly over time due to earlier detection and improved treatment options. In general, the earlier the breast cancer is first diagnosed, the better the outcome. The current 5-year relative survival rate of women first diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer is 80.6%.
Although survival rates can provide an estimate of what percentage of patients with the same stage of breast cancer are alive after a certain period of time , they cannot predict how long any specific individual with breast cancer will live. The length of survival varies from person to person. Factors that influence this include:
- Response to treatment
- The type of breast cancer that you have
- The rate of tumour growth
- Other factors such as your age, medical history and overall health
How Grade Affects Treatment Options
Your treatment team will consider the grade of your cancer when deciding which treatment to offer you.
If you have grade 3 breast cancer, youre more likely to be offered chemotherapy. This is to help destroy any cancer cells that may have spread as a result of the cancer being faster growing.
Chemotherapy is less likely for grade 1 and grade 2 cancers.
The grade of your cancer alone will not determine what treatment youre offered. Your treatment team will consider the grade alongside all other information about your cancer when deciding on the best treatment options for you.
Find out more about breast cancer and prognosis.
Also Check: Stage Four Breast Cancer Life Expectancy
What Is Stage 1 Breast Cancer
This breast cancer is the earliest stage of invasive breast cancer. In stage 1, the tumor measures up to 2 cm and no lymph nodes are involved. At this stage, the cancer cells have spread beyond the original location and into the surrounding breast tissue.
Because a stage 1 tumor is small, it may be difficult to detect. However, breast self-exams and routine screening are always important and can often lead to early diagnosis, when the cancer is most treatable.Stage 1 breast cancer is divided into two categories:
Stage 1A: The tumor measures 2 cm or smaller and has not spread outside the breast.
Stage 1B: Small clusters of cancer cells measuring no more than 2 mm, are found in the lymph nodes, and either there is no tumor inside the breast, or the tumor is small, measuring 2 cm or less.
At stage 1, TNM designations help describe the extent of the disease. For example, there may or may not be cancer cells in the lymph nodes, and the size of the tumor may range from 1 cm to 2 cm. Most commonly, stage 1 breast cancer is described as:
- T: T1, T2, T3 or T4, depending on the size and/or extent of the primary tumor
- N0: Usually, cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
- M0: The disease has not spread to other sites in the body.
Stage 1 breast cancer survival rate
The survival rate for stage 1A breast cancer may be slightly higher than for stage 1B. However, all women with stage 1 breast cancer are considered to have a good prognosis.
What Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer
Also known as metastatic breast cancer, the cancer in this stage has spread beyond the breast, underarm and internal mammary lymph nodes to other parts of the body near to or distant from the breast. The cancer has spread elsewhere in the body. The affected areas may include the bones, brain, lungs or liver and more than one part of the body may be involved.
At stage 4, TNM designations help describe the extent of the disease. Higher numbers indicate more extensive disease. Most commonly, stage 4 breast cancer is described as:,
- T: T1, T2, T3 or T4 depends on the size and/or extent of the primary tumor.
- N1: Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
- M1: The disease has spread to other sites in the body.
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The Number Staging System
Breast cancer can also be divided into four number stages. We have put these into a table to make them easier to understand. You can .
This information is about stage 1 to 3 breast cancer.
Stage 1 breast cancer is when the cancer is 2cm or smaller. There may be no cancer cells in the lymph nodes in the armpit or tiny numbers of cancer cells are found. Sometimes the cancer cannot be found in the breast, but cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes in the armpit.
Stage 2 breast cancer is when the cancer is up to or bigger than 5cm. It may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes under the arm. Sometimes the cancer cannot be found in the breast. But cancer cells have spread to 1 to 3 lymph nodes in the armpit or near the breast bone.
Stage 3 breast cancer is sometimes called locally advanced breast cancer. The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit and sometimes to other lymph nodes nearby. It may have spread to the skin of the breast or to the chest muscle. The skin may be red, swollen or have broken down. Sometimes the cancer cannot be found in the breast or is small but has spread to 4 to 9 lymph nodes in the armpit.
Stage 4 breast cancer is also called secondary or metastatic breast cancer. This is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, the liver or lungs. We have separate information about secondary breast cancer.
The Tnm System For Staging Breast Cancer
The AJCCs addition of the letters T, N, and M for anatomic breast cancer staging adds more information to a breast cancer diagnosis. Heres what they mean:
- T : The tumor grade shows a higher number for a larger size or density.
- N : Nodes refers to lymph nodes and uses the numerals 0 to 3 to give information about how many lymph nodes are involved in the cancer.
- M : This refers to how the cancer has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes.
The AJCC also added clarifications in staging for ER, PR, and HER2 expression and also genetic information.
Ultimately, this means someone diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer can receive more information from their breast cancer staging than ever before.
No matter the stage, the best source of information about your individual outlook is your own oncology team.
Getting the right treatment and the support you need can help you navigate the challenges of being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
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Breast Cancer Staging Guidelines
The TNM system is the most widely used cancer staging system and looks at the following cancer characteristics:
- Tumor The size of the tumor and whether it has grown into nearby tissue.
- Node Whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. And if so, how many.
- Metastasis Indicates whether the cancer has spread to distant organs, like the lungs or liver.
But when it comes to breast cancer staging, the TNM system was expanded to include additional cancer characteristics, including:
- Estrogen-receptor status or progesterone-receptor status Whether the cancer has estrogen or progesterone receptors. A positive status means the cancer can use either hormone to grow.
- HER2 status Whether the cancer produces HER2, a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells.
- Grade Indicates how much the cancer cells look like healthy cells.
- Oncotype DX recurrence score Indicates how likely a group of genes may respond to treatment, depending on ER, PR and HER2 status.
Is Stage 2 Breast Cancer Curable
You or someone close to you could be diagnosed with breast cancer. Stage 2 breast cancer means that the cancer is still contained in the breast. It might have extended in a minor way to the few nearby lymph nodes. Stage extent of breast cancer is a key factor in making decisions about treatment. It also determines whether stage 2 breast cancer is curable.
With that in mind, is stage 2 breast cancer considered early? Most people with stage 2 breast cancer are treated with Breast Conserving Surgery that is often followed by radiation therapy. They go ahead to fully recover and lead healthy lives. Stage 2 breast cancer would thus be considered early since it is not too advanced and responds to treatment.
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