A cancer that develops in the breast is known as breast cancer. The ailment can be fatal if it had advanced and is not treated. Early detection can be treated successfully such that the affected person’s survival rate is higher. The progress of the disease can be determined through two factors – grade and stage.
Grades of breast cancer
The grade indicates how fast the cancer cells are multiplying. This can range from Grade 1 to Grade 3. A low-grade such as Grade 1 indicates that the cancer growth is slow. On the other hand, a high-grade such as Grade 3 shows the fast spread and growth of the cancer cells. The higher is the grade, the more active the disease is. This can result to the spread of the ailment outside of the breast and into the lymph nodes and armpit.
Stages of breast cancer
When cancer of the breast is suspected, you may be required to undergo ultrasound, mammogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and biopsies. The pathology report which is based on the biopsies will summarize the stages of breast cancer. Stages of breast cancer are given numbers I to IV. Stages I, II-A and II-B (lump measuring 2 to 5 centimeters) are classified as early stage. Stage II-B (lump is greater than 5 centimeters), III and IV are advanced stages.
The classification of early stage is based on two factors. First basis is the size of the cancerous lump. The second is the presence of cancer in the lymph nodes. When the lump is less than 2 centimeters and without cancer in the lymph node, it is Stage I.
There are three scenarios for Stage II-A.
First, the lump size is less than 2 centimeters with cancer in the lymph nodes.
Second, the size of the lump ranges from 2 to 5 centimeters without cancer in the lymph nodes.
Third, there is no cancer in the breast but the lymph nodes are positive for cancer.
For Stage II-B, the size of the lump ranges from 2 to 5 centimeters and there is cancer in the lymph nodes. When the size of the lump exceeds 5 centimeters, it will no longer be early stage, rather advanced stage.
There are several features that indicate the chance of early breast cancer recurrence. These are size of the lump, presence of cancer in the lymph nodes, presence of hormone receptors, HER 2 receptors, grade and surgical margin.
The disease has a slim chance of coming back
1. There is a big chance that when treated, the disease will not spread or come back. This is when the tumor is smaller than 2 centimeters.
2. Absence of cancer cells in the lymph nodes.
3. The tumor cells have hormone receptors and you undergo hormonal therapy.
4. Cancer cells are negative for human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER 2).
5. The grade is low.
6. The surgical margin is clear.
The surgical margin is the healthy-looking tissues around the cancer. If there are no cancer cells in these healthy-looking tissues, the surgical margin is clear.
Th Big C is likely to recur
1. The lump is larger than 2 centimeters.
2. Presence of tumor cells in the lymph nodes.
3. The cancer cells do not have hormone receptors.
4. The cancer cells are positive for human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER 2).
5. The grade is high (Grade 3).
6. The surgical margin is not clear.
Early breast cancer is treatable. Although this is a common ailment for women, it will also affect men. Early detection is paramount in surviving this dreaded disease.