Breast Cancer Stages



At some point, your doctor will tell you what stage your cancer is. Put simply, the stage describes how widespread or advanced the cancer is in the breast tissue and possibly other parts of your body. Determining the stage helps doctors explain the breadth of the cancer to you. It also helps them determine how to move forward with treatment, including surgery, if needed.

Breast cancer is also classified according to other characteristics. These include how sensitive it is to the hormones estrogen and progesterone as well as to the level of certain proteins that play a role in breast cancer growth, such as HER2. It is also classified by the cancer’s genetic makeup. Learn more about how specialists at MSK classify types of breast cancer.

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