Breast cancer staging

The stage of breast cancer, along with its type, determines treatment options. Here's a summary of factors considered in breast cancer staging. By Mayo Clinic Staff

After discovering that you have breast cancer, your doctor will decide what additional tests may be helpful to find out if the disease has spread outside the breast. Called breast cancer staging, this process provides information about the extent of the disease. Doctors use Roman numerals to denote breast cancer stages. Breast cancer staging helps you and your doctor plan your treatment.

Information that helps determine your breast cancer stage

Your doctor determines your breast cancer stage by considering:

  • The size of your tumor
  • Whether cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes under your arm (axillary lymph nodes)
  • Whether cancer cells have spread to other parts of your body
Feb. 17, 2012 See more In-depth