Treatment Overview

Treatment Overview

December 14, 2021


Breast cancer is frequently found without any symptoms and is detected on a screening mammogram. Sometimes additional imaging studies such as the breast ultrasound or the breast MRI may be needed to get more information. A breast biopsy will be done at the area of concern. Breast cancer treatment plans are usually based on the stage and the type of breast cancer. Sometimes the breast cancer stage may not be available until after breast cancer surgery. Stage zero breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ, which is DCIS, means that the cancer is confined to the milk ducts. DCIS is a non-invasive breast cancer. Stage one breast cancer is small tumor size and either have not spread to the lymph nodes, or there is a spread to a tiny part of a lymph node. Stage two breast cancer has tumor larger than that of stage one. And in some cases, have spread to several lymph nodes. Stage three breast cancer is larger and may involve the skin or the muscle underneath the breast, or it has spread to many nearby lymph nodes. Stage four breast cancer is also called metastatic breast cancer. The cancer has spread outside of the breast to the nearby lymph nodes and invade other parts of the body. Stage four breast cancer is not curable. With today’s therapies, the overall survival of breast cancer may range from a few months to many years, depending on the tumor characteristics and the treatment used. In general, the higher the stage, the more intense the treatment is involved. Most women with stage one, two or three breast cancer are treated with surgery, which may be followed by radiation therapy. Some may require more medicine afterwards. Some women may require chemotherapy also. Treatment options are also affected by other characteristics of the breast cancer, such as the hormone receptor status, either estrogen or progesterone receptor, HER2 expression, tumor grade, menopausal status, and the overall health of the patient.