[toc]Cancer has different ways of spreading or metastasising into different parts of the body. The progress of cancer or malignancy is called as staging. The stage of cancer is helpful in determining the degree of metastasis and that is very essential in finding out the prognosis of the malignancy. Cancer spreads through three ways. It can spread either through the lymph system or the tissue or blood.
After the diagnosis, the stage of cancer is determined and other organs of the body are scanned for any kind of cancerous growth. The cancer can spread through the blood and lymph tissue and affect other organs of the body. The primary tumor leaves its original location and spreads to areas and is known as secondary tumors. Here are the stages of cancer:
Different Stages Of Breast Cancer
In this stage, the cancerous growth in confined into its own capsule, also known as carcinoma in situ which means the abnormal growing cells have not affected the rest of the breast tissue. They are localized to only a minute area and continue to divide.
In this stage, the tumor is about 2 centimeters in diameter. It could either be confined to the breast tissue or in some cases it expands its origin to the nearby lymph nodes as well. The type of tumor that affects the lymph nodes is much more aggressive in nature.
In this stage, the diameter of the tumor is more than 2 centimeters but less than 5 centimeters. It has definitely affected the axillary lymph nodes and it has also expanded its reach to the breast bone.
This stage is divided into 3 parts. In the first part, the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters and it forms small clusters and affects the lymph nodes of the breast bone. It could either migrate completely to the lymph or leave out some of its fragments in the breast area as well. In the second part, the tumor has metastasised to the chest wall and has started affecting the tissue structures there as well. It affects at the most 9 axillary nodes and causes ulceration or swelling in the breast tissue. In the third part, the cancer spreads to the area of the collar bone. It affects more than 9 lymph nodes and the chest wall tissue.
In this stage, metastasis has completely occurred which means the tumor has spread to various organs of the body. The most susceptible organs for getting affected will be the lungs, liver and kidneys. It compromises the functions of these organs and gets them into failure one by one. At this stage, nothing apart from extending the life of the patient can be done by radiation therapy. Surgery is not possible because even if you remove the primary tumor, the secondary tumors will continue with the harmful actions.
It is important to find out the stage of any disease with the help of diagnostic tests. Affected individuals should seek medical treatment as soon as possible because diseases like cancer have a fast way of growing and they metastasise really fast as well.
Photo Credit: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/breast/Patient/page1