Stage 2 Breast Cancer

Stage 2 Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast tissue. There are two main types of breast cancer;

Ductal Carcinoma

It starts in the ducts that move milk from the breast to the nipple. This type comprises of most breast cancer cases.

Lobular Carcinoma

This type of breast cancer starts in the lobules of breast which produce milk.

Stage 2 breast cancer means the breast cancer is growing but it is still limited to the breast or it has only gone to some of the nearby lymph nodes. Stage 2 breast cancer can be divided into two groups; stage 2A and stage 2B. The difference between these two stages is determined by the tumor size and if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit.

 Stage 2A Breast Cancer

Stage 2A Breast Cancer

This form of stage 2 breast cancer means;

Either

The tumor in the breast is less than 2 cm and there are only few or less than four lymph nodes in the arm pit have cancer cells

Or

No tumor is found in the breast but there are less than four lymph nodes in the armpit or auxilla containing cancer cells.

Or

The tumor is 2-5 cm in size and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

Stage 2B Breast Cancer

Stage 2B Breast Cancer

The tumor is larger than 5 cm but has not gone to axillary lymph nodes.

Causes of Stage 2 Breast Cancer

1. Gender and Age

As women get older, their risk of getting breast cancer increases. Most cases of stage 2 breast cancer or even advanced cases are found in women over the age of 50.

2. Family history of Breast Cancer

The risk of getting breast cancer is higher among women who have a family history of breast cancer. Family history means if a woman has maternal or paternal relatives diagnosed with this disease or other female types of cancer such as uterine, ovarian and colon cancer.

3. Genes

Genes play an important role in the matter. Stage 2 breast cancer or any other stage of breast cancer could be a result of mutations in your genes. The most common gene defects or mutations are found in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. A mother can pass one of these defective genes to her children which increase your risk of developing breast.

Risk Factors

The commonly observed risk factors for stage 2 breast cancer are;

  1. Alcohol use
  2. Late child birth
  3. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
  4. Obesity
  5. Radiation

Symptoms of Stage 2 Breast Cancer

At early stage like stage 2 breast cancer, women do not feel any symptoms. For this reason, regular breast exam are very important. As the cancer grows symptoms may show up. some of the common symptoms of stage 2 breast cancer are;

  • A lump in the breast or armpit that is hard with uneven an edge which does not hurt in most cases.
  • A visible change in the size, feel, shape of the breast or nipple for instance a woman may have dimpling, redness, or puckering in the breast.
  • Bloody, clear or yellow fluid coming from nipple

Treatment of Stage 2 Breast cancer

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are treatment options for almost all stages of breast cancer. However, the intensity and dosage of treatment may vary depending on stage of the cancer.

For stage 2 breast cancer following treatment options are availed in most cases.

Local therapy

Most stage 2 breast cancer patients are treated with surgery, either mastectomy or breast conserving surgery (BCS). The nodal status is also checked either with axillary lymph node dissection or sentinel node biopsy (SNB). Women with larger tumors and BCS undergo radiation therapy to eradicate the risk of recurrence.

Systematic Therapy

Most stage 2 breast cancer patients are recommended systematic therapy. systematic therapy includes chemotherapy, targeted drugs for HER2 positive breast cancer, hormone therapy for ER/PR positive breast cancer. Chemo is usually given before surgery (Neoadjuvant) or after surgery (Adjuvant). Women with larger tumors are recommended to get Neoadjuvant therapy because tumor size can be reduced with chemo drugs and breast could be saved. However, survival rate is same for adjuvant and Neoadjuvant therapies. Similarly, survival rate for mastectomy and BCS are same.

Stage 1 Breast Cancer

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.