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;
It starts in the ducts that move milk from the breast to the nipple. This type comprises of most breast cancer cases.
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
This form of stage 2 breast cancer means;
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
No tumor is found in the breast but there are less than four lymph nodes in the armpit or auxilla containing cancer cells.
The tumor is 2-5 cm in size and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
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.
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.
The commonly observed risk factors for stage 2 breast cancer are;
- Alcohol use
- Late child birth
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
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.
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.
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.