The process of educated treatment decision making starts with the stage and progression of the disease. Health care team at Cancer Hospital develops a proper treatment plan for a patient who is newly diagnosed with breast cancer after reviewing the results from diagnostic tests. Doctors review your pathology report to confirm the correct diagnosis and staging information and create a personalized treatment plan for you.
Stage 1 Breast Cancer
It is the earliest stage of breast cancer in which the cancer cells spread beyond the original site of tumor and into the breast tissue surrounding the site. Due to the reason, at stage 1, breast tumor is usually small, therefore, it may be difficult to detect through physical exam. Nevertheless, routine screening and breast self exam are always essential and associated with early detection and better treatment options, when the cancer is in most treatable stage.
Types of Stage 1 Breast Cancer
Stage 1 breast cancer is classified into two main categories’
Stage 1A: At this stage, the tumor measures 2 cm in size or smaller and has not spread outside the breast.
Stage 1B: Small number of cancer cells measuring 2 mm or even smaller are found in the lymph nodes in the armpit and either there is not tumor inside the breast, or the tumor is small measuring 2 cm or less. See also.
It is possible that survival rate for stage 1A breast cancer are a little higher than 1B, however, all women with stage 1 breast cancer have a very good overall prognosis.
Symptoms of Stage 1 Breast Cancer
As describe earlier, it is hard to detect breast cancer at such an early stage. However most of the women find their cancer themselves during routine breast exam. The most common sign of stage 1 breast cancer is a small pea sized hard and painless lump in the breast. This lump does not move and mostly hard like a marble. It feels stuck to the underlying breast tissue. Every lump found in the breast must be checked and treated according to the diagnosis no matter it’s a cancerous lump or not.
Treatment for Stage 1 Breast Cancer
Stage 1 breast cancer is mostly treated with a combination of surgery (either mastectomy or breast conservative surgery) chemotherapy and radiation therapy over a period of 4-6 months.
A woman who is recently been diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer is treated after a number of diagnostic tests such as CBC, CT scan, Bone Scan or sometimes pet scan is used to determine the stage. After diagnosis, she is referred to the breast surgeon who performs surgery on the breast and tries to get clear margins. A surgeon gets clear margins by taking some surrounding tissue with the cancerous tumor just to make sure that cancer cells have not invaded the whole breast. At stage 1 breast cancer, most surgeons prefer breast conservative surgery to spare the breast of patient. However, some women choose mastectomy to get rid of fear of recurrence totally. This is however not so beneficial because both types of surgeries have same results and survival rate for stage 1 breast cancer.
Chemotherapy and Radiation for Stage 1 Breast Cancer
Surgery is almost always followed by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is based on 6-8 courses of cancer suppressing drugs. These drugs target cancer cells and kill them off. Due to rather serious side effects of chemotherapy, some women choose to go on with radiation therapy. But chemotherapy is associated with significantly increased survival rate. While Radiation therapy for stage 1 breast cancer is administered at the cancer hospital over the period of 15-30 days.