Stage II breast cancer
Stage II breast cancer indicates a slightly more advanced form of breast cancer. At this stage, the cancer cells have spread beyond the original location and into the surrounding breast tissue, and the tumor is larger than in stage I disease. However, stage II means the cancer has not spread to a distant part of the body.
At stage II, a tumor may be detected during a breast self-exam as a hard lump within the breast. Breast self-exams and routine screening are always important and can often lead to early diagnosis, when the cancer is most treatable.
Types of stage II breast cancer
Stage II is divided into two categories:
At stage IIA, one of the following is true:
- There is no tumor within the breast but cancer has spread to the axillary (underarm) lymph nodes, or
- The tumor in the breast is 2 cm or smaller and cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
- The tumor in the breast measures 2 - 5 cm but cancer has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes
At stage IIB, one of the following is true:
- The tumor measures 2 - 5 cm and cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
- The tumor is larger than 5 cm but cancer has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes
The survival rate for stage IIA breast cancer may be slightly higher than for stage IIB. However, all women with stage II breast cancer are considered to have a good prognosis.
At stage II, TNM designations help describe the extent of the disease. Most commonly, stage II breast cancer is described as:
- T: T1, T2, T3 or T4, depending on the size and/or extent of the primary tumor.
- N1: Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes
- M0: The disease has not spread to other sites in the body