Right now, there is not a simple test that can determine all of this and, moreover, what these factors—in combination—mean for a patient. TNM is the most widely used staging system for breast cancer. Each letter of the acronym stands for a defining element of the disease.
What grade is the breast cancer? What size is the breast cancer? Cancer cells are given a grade according to how different they are to normal breast cells and how quickly they are growing.
You may notice that a part of your breast feels different from the rest, being less "squishy" and more "dense". This can be a normal part of menstruation or breastfeeding. The thickening can be in the skin which is a sign of Inflammatory Breast Cancer or deeper in the breast.
If you have been recently diagnosed, we will review your pathology to confirm you have received the correct diagnosis and staging information, and develop a personalized treatment plan. If you have a recurrence, we will perform comprehensive testing and identify a treatment approach tailored to your needs. Our cancer doctors use a variety of diagnostic tests to evaluate breast cancer and develop the appropriate treatment plan for you.
There are different types of breast lumps. The following descriptions and illustraitons provides some details. If you have any questions, follow-up with your doctor.
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This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables are a useful way to look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. Learn how to read a research table.
The stage of the cancer helps you and your doctor:. Breast cancer stage is usually expressed as a number on a scale of 0 through IV — with stage 0 describing non-invasive cancers that remain within their original location and stage IV describing invasive cancers that have spread outside the breast to other parts of the body. Your pathology report will include information that is used to calculate the stage of the breast cancer — that is, whether it is limited to one area in the breast, or it has spread to healthy tissues inside the breast or to other parts of the body. Your doctor will begin to determine this during surgery to remove the cancer and look at one or more of the underarm lymph nodes, which is where breast cancer tends to travel first.
The stage of cancer indicates the size of the tumor of abnormal cells and whether or not those cells are contained to the place of origin. Stage 0 breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ DCIS is a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. In Stage 0 breast cancer, the atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts or lobules into the surrounding breast tissue.
There are many possible causes of non-cancerous benign breast lumps. Two of the most common causes of benign single breast lumps are cysts and fibroadenomas. In addition, several other conditions can present themselves as lumps, such as fat necrosis and sclerosing adenosis. A breast abscess is a pocket of pus that causes inflammation and a sore lump in the breast.