Breast cancer is categorized into stages to determine the extent of the disease and guide treatment decisions. These stages help healthcare providers plan the most effective approach for managing the cancer. Understanding the stages of breast cancer is crucial for patients and their families. Here, we outline the four main stages of breast cancer.

Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ): At this stage, cancer cells are confined to the ducts or lobules within the breast and have not spread into surrounding tissue. It is often referred to as non-invasive breast cancer and is highly treatable.

Stage I: In this early stage, the cancer is small and localized, usually measuring less than 2 centimeters.

Stage II: Stage II breast cancer is divided into two subcategories: IIA and IIB. In IIA, the tumor may be small but has spread to nearby lymph nodes. In IIB, the tumor is larger or involves more lymph nodes but has not spread elsewhere.

Stage III: At this stage, the cancer is locally advanced, having spread to more lymph nodes or nearby tissues. It is further divided into IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC, depending on the extent of lymph node involvement and tumor size.

Stage IV (Metastatic): Stage IV is the most advanced stage, indicating that the cancer has spread to distant organs, such as the bones, lungs, liver, or brain.

Each stage requires a different treatment approach, and the prognosis varies accordingly. Early detection through regular screenings significantly improves the chances of catching breast cancer at lower stages, when it is most treatable.