Breast cancer staging

Classifying your breast cancer by stage helps predict your chance of cure and helps identify the best treatment options for your particular cancer.

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.

Your breast cancer stage helps your doctor determine which treatments are most likely to benefit you.

The stages of breast cancer

The stages of breast cancer are indicated using Roman numerals ranging from 0 to IV, with 0 indicating cancer that is noninvasive or contained within the milk ducts. Greater numerals indicate a more invasive cancer. By stage IV breast cancer, also called metastatic breast cancer, the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.

The cancer staging system continues to evolve and is becoming more complex as doctors improve cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Jan. 10, 2018 See more In-depth