What Is Stage 0
Stage 0 is the least invasive stage of breast cancer and usually detected early in patients, according to the American Cancer Society. In this stage, cancer cells or non-cancerous abnormal cells are only in the part of the breast in which they formed and haven’t spread.
“At this stage of breast cancer, we tell patients not to be too worried. Stage 0 is extremely treatable and we ask people not to shed a tear over the diagnosis just yet,” said Cruz.
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What Is Stage Iv Cancer
Stage IV cancer is the most severe form of cancer in which cancer has spread to a distant part of the body from its origin. Thus, testicular cancer may have spread to the lungs and bones, thyroid cancer may have spread to the brain, and so on. It is also known as metastatic or advanced disease.
The staging system often used for most types of cancer is the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM system. In these staging systems, three types of key information are used.
- T : It refers to the size of the original tumor.
- N : It describes whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
- M : It refers to the spreading of cancer to other parts of the body.
A number or the letter X is allocated to each factor. A higher number means the cancer is advanced. For instance, a T1 score refers to a smaller tumor than a T2 score. The letter X indicates that information could not be assessed. M1 indicates that cancer has spread to a distant part of the body.
The physician combines T, N, and M results and other factors specific to cancer to determine the stage of cancer for each person. Most cancer types have four stages: stages I-IV, with stages I and IV being the least severe and most severe forms of cancer, respectively. Some types of cancer also have a stage 0 .
Men With Breast Cancer Have Lower Survival Rates Than Women
- Tags:Locally Advanced-Stage: Stage IIIC, Locally Advanced-Stage: Stage IIIB, Early-Stage: Stage IIIA, Early-Stage: Stage IIB, Early-Stage: Stage IIA, Early-Stage: Stage IB, Early-Stage: Stage IA, and Early-Stage: Stage 0 — DCIS
A study that looked at nearly 1.9 million people diagnosed with breast cancer found that men have lower overall survival compared to women. The characteristics of the breast cancers and undertreatment of male breast cancer seem to account for much of the difference in survival rates.
Overall survival is how long a person lives, whether or not the cancer grows.
The research was published online on Sept. 19, 2019, in JAMA Oncology. Read the abstract of Overall Mortality After Diagnosis of Breast Cancer in Men vs Women.
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When Can Metastatic Breast Cancer Occur
Most often, metastatic breast cancer arises months or years after a person has completed treatment for early or locally advanced breast cancer. This is sometimes called a distant recurrence.
Some people have metastatic breast cancer when they are first diagnosed . This is called de novo metastatic breast cancer.
According to research from the National Cancer Institute , the number of women living with metastatic breast cancer in the United States is increasing at the same time, women with metastatic disease are living longer, especially younger women.
The research was published online on May 18, 2017 by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Read the abstract of Estimation of the Number of Women Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer in the United States.
Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread to parts of the body away from the breast, such as the bones or liver. Metastatic breast cancer is stage IV cancer. A woman can be diagnosed with metastatic disease when first diagnosed. Breast cancer also can come back in a part of the body away from the breast. This is called metastatic recurrence.
The study compared 5-year survival rates from 1992 to 1994 and from 2005 to 2012:
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 dont take into account the cause of death. Theyre 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.
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New Medications For Metastatic Breast Cancer
The immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors have led to a significant improvement in survival rates for lung cancer and melanoma. In March of 2019 the first immunotherapy drug, Tecentriq was approved for triple-negative breast cancer that is metastatic . As noted above, there are at least a few people who have had excellent responses in clinical trials prior to approval.
PARP inhibitors are also a class of medications that may alter survival rates in the future, particularly among women who have hereditary breast cancer .
For bone metastases, bone-modifying drugs may be effective in treating both metastases, and may reduce the development of further metastases in bone.
Finally, for people who have only a single or a few metastases , treating these metastases locally may be an option. While studies are young, treating oligometastases may improve survival or even lead to long term survival for a minority of people.
In addition, for some people treated with immunotherapy, local radiation may sometimes improve the response of immunotherapy, something known as the abscopal effect. Since immunotherapy is such a recent addition to breast cancer, it’s not known how common this response may be or if it will be seen at all.
What Is The Survival Rate For Stage 4 Breast Cancer
The five-year survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer will depend on many things, but the value seen most often is about 27%. It is important to remember that five-year survival rates are based upon diagnoses that occurred at least five years ago. I bring this up because of the amazing progress that is being made every day in cancer research. The data below-median survival time from diagnosis among age groups across time.
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Clinical Trials For Stage 4 Breast Cancer
Because of how severe stage 4 breast cancer often is, many treatment options are not as effective as they are in early stages. Many advanced cancer patients turn to clinical trials to seek new treatments. Clinical trials. Before therapies for cancer can be approved by the FDA and are considered standard of care, they need to go through several phases of clinical trials to ensure they are both safe for patients and effective at treating their disease.
Clinical trials are also available for patients of other stages. However, there are fewer available therapies as the disease progresses, so clinical trials are sometimes viewed as the last stage treatment for breast cancer. Breast cancer clinical trials offer the latest drugs in cancer research that target the genetic makeup of the tumor, which can lead to fewer side effects and improved responses to therapies.
What Are The Stages Of Breast Cancer
The most widely used system in the U.S. is the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM system. Medical professionals developed a new eighth edition of this staging system for 2018 that includes results of testing for certain biomarkers, including the HER2 protein, estrogen receptor and progesterone , and the results of gene expression assays, in addition to the factors described below.
Besides the information gained from the imaging tests, this system also uses the results from surgical procedures. After surgery, a pathologist looks at the cells from the breast cancer as well as from the lymph nodes. They incorporate this information into the staging, as it tends to be more accurate than the physical exam and X-ray findings alone.
The TNM system uses letters and numbers to describe certain tumor characteristics in a uniform manner. This allows health care providers to stage the cancer and aids communication among health care providers. The following is an abbreviated example of the TNM staging system.
T: This describes the size of the tumor. A number from 0 to 4 follows. Higher numbers indicate a larger tumor or greater spread:
- T1: Tumor is 2 cm or less across
- T2: Tumor is 2 cm-5 cm
- T3: Tumor is more than 5 cm
- T4: Tumor of any size growing into the chest wall or skin
N: This describes the spread to lymph node near the breast. A number from 0 to 3 follows.
M: This letter is followed by a 0 or 1, indicating whether the cancer has spread to other organs.
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Relative Survival Rate By Stage
The survival rates by stage are based on the stage at the time of diagnosis. Youve probably been given a number and letter for your cancer stage. Here, the terms localized, regional, and distant are used instead of numbers and letters. Heres what they mean and the 5-year relative survival rates for each:
- Localized breast cancer is only in the breast. This includes stage IA , some IIA , and some IIB . The 5-year relative survival rate is 99%.
- Regional breast cancer has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes. This includes stage IB , some IIA , some IIB , and all stage III . The 5-year relative survival rate is 86%.
- Distant breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This includes stage IV, pronounced stage 4). The 5-year relative survival rate is 28%.
What Is Stage 3 Breast Cancer
Also known as locally advanced breast cancer, the tumor in this stage of breast cancer is more than 2 inches in diameter across and the cancer is extensive in the underarm lymph nodes or has spread to other lymph nodes or tissues near the breast. Stage 3 breast cancer is a more advanced form of invasive breast cancer. At this stage, the cancer cells have usually not spread to more distant sites in the body, but they are present in several axillary lymph nodes. The tumor may also be quite large at this stage, possibly extending to the chest wall or the skin of the breast.
Stage 3 breast cancer is divided into three categories:
Stage 3A: One of the following is true:
- No tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is present in axillary lymph nodes that are attached to either other or other structures, or cancer may be found in the lymph nodes near the breast bone, or
- The tumor is 2 cm or smaller. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone, or
- The tumor is 2 cm to 4 cm in size. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breast bone, or
- The tumor is larger than 5 cm. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that may be attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone.
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Diagnosis Of Stage 4 Breast Cancer
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you may have further tests to determine the extent that the cancer has spread throughout the body. This is called staging. It helps you and your doctors decide on the best treatment options for you.
In addition the numbered staging system, the TNM staging system is also commonly used for breast cancer staging.
What I Wish People Knew About Metastatic Breast Cancer
Women with metastatic breast cancer think about fighting cancer very differently than women who don’t have a stage 4 diagnosis. If you have advanced cancer, these women understand what youre going through.
The term metastatic breast cancer describes breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to the bones, liver, brain, or another organ. Even if the cancer is found in another organ, its still referred to as breast cancer and is treated as such.
While metastatic breast cancer is terminal and cannot be cured, because of improved treatments more women are living longer than ever with it. Even so, a lack of information and many misconceptions about this diagnosis persist.
Here are several things you should know about metastatic breast cancer and the women who are living with it.
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Clinical Trials Are A Promising Treatment Option
For people with advanced stages of cancer, clinical trials can be considered the gold standard of treatment. I recommend clinical trials highly, says Rosen. You get access to medication and treatment that you normally wouldnt have.
A clinical trial could even have positive results on your cancer. We are living in an exciting time for cancer treatment, says Kimmick. There are myriad new drugs coming out that will improve the lives of all women with breast cancer, both metastatic and early stage.
However, its important to be realistic about the potential outcome of your trial. Rosen was recently enrolled in a clinical trial in which the medication proved toxic for her. But she has no regrets about participating. It feels like Im helping researchers who are working on cures for cancer, she says. When I had a bad reaction to the drug, they were able to put my side effects in their study. I feel like I did help, and that makes me happy.
People interested in joining a clinical trial for treatment should talk to their doctor about options that might be good for them.
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer Recurrence
You may experience different signs of breast cancer recurrence depending on where the cancer forms.
Local breast cancer recurrence may cause:
- Breast lump or bumps on or under the chest.
- Nipple changes, such as flattening or nipple discharge.
- Swollen skin or skin that pulls near the lumpectomy site.
- Thickening on or near the surgical scar.
- Unusually firm breast tissue.
- Biopsy of the site of suspected recurrence.
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Breast Cancer In The Spine Understanding Metastatic Breast Cancer
If you are a music fan or hear the news, by this time you must have come across this very disheartening news that Olivia Newton Johns breast cancer has returned in her spine which is why her concerts are being canceled. Ms. Newton John has been an advocate in the breast cancer community and she established the ONJCC in Australia where active research to combat breast cancer is happening . As a woman dealing with metastatic breast cancer for the last year, I wish she hadnt joined this club and I am truly saddened for her. She was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 1992 and now 25 years later, she has been found to have breast cancer in her spine. I can imagine how devastating it must be for her and her family as I too live with metastatic breast cancer. I wish her great success in her upcoming treatment and sincerely pray that she will go in remission.
So what is happening when breast cancer is diagnosed in the spine? Is it now bone cancer? The answer is no. There is generally a lack of awareness about breast cancer that has spread to other organs called Metastatic Breast Cancer or MBC . A lot of people unfortunately dont understand the reality of metastatic breast cancer which is the fact that incurable stage 4 of breast cancer . More importantly, although stage 4 breast cancer is incurable, it is treatable and many sub-types of breast cancer respond to treatment for a number of years.
Lung Cancer In Men And Women
Men are more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer than women, by a small margin.
This trend holds up for lung cancer-related deaths, too. Its projected that 131,880 people in the United States will die from lung cancer during 2021.
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Examples Of Rates Versus Numbers
Say, town A has a population of 100,000 and town B has a population of 1,000. Over a year, say there are 100 breast cancer deaths in town A and 100 breast cancer deaths in town B.
The number of breast cancer deaths in each town is the same. However, many more people live in town A than live in town B. So, the mortality rates are quite different.
In town A, there were 10 breast cancer deaths among 100,000 people. This means the mortality rate was less than 1 percent .
In town B, the mortality rate was 10 percent .
Although the number of deaths was the same in town A and town B, the mortality rate was much higher in town B than in town A .
Lets look at another example. In 2021, its estimated among women there will be :
- 100 breast cancer deaths in Washington, D.C.
- 720 breast cancer deaths in Alabama
- 4,730 breast cancer deaths in California
Of the 3, California has the highest number of breast cancers. However, that doesnt mean it has the highest breast cancer rate. These numbers dont take into account the number of women who live in each state. Fewer women live in Alabama and Washington, D.C. than live in California.
Other factors may vary by state as well, such as the age and race/ethnicity of women. So, to compare breast cancer mortality , we need to look at mortality rates.
In 2021, the estimated mortality rates are :
- 26 per 100,000 women in Washington, D.C.
- 22 per 100,000 women in Alabama 22
- 19 per 100,000 women in California 20