When we hear the term breast cancer prognosis, the first question that comes to mind is how much time is left? That is not really what a breast cancer prognosis measures. In most cases, breast cancer prognosis is basically a statistic showing how many women survive for at least five years following their diagnosis. But it is really not that simple.
Determining breast cancer prognosis depends on a number of factors, including:
• type of breast cancer
• how the breast cancer is treated
• genetic factors
• overall health of the patient
• lifestyle during and after treatment
We want to provide a look at the most common breast cancer prognosis. In order to make this easy to understand, we will list the different stages of breast cancer and give a short description of the stage and the five-year survival rate.
Breast Cancer Prognosis – Stage 0
Also called carcinoma in situ, this is the earliest stage of breast cancer. At this point the tumor is very small, is contained to its area of origin and has not spread at all. Five-year survival rate: 100 percent
Breast Cancer Prognosis – Stage 1
Stage 1 breast cancer is also restricted to the area where it first began, with no spreading to other parts of the breast or the lymph nodes. The only distinction in stage 1 is that the size of the tumor measures 2 centimeters (cm) or less. Five-year survival rate: 100 percent
Breast Cancer Prognosis – Stage 2A
At this stage, the tumor can either measure 2 cm or less or measure between 2 and 5 cm, and the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes located under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer. Five-year survival rate: 92 percent
Breast Cancer Prognosis – Stage 2B
The tumor size in stage 2B breast cancer can be the same as with stage 2A, but it also includes tumors that measure more than 5 cm. At this point, there is some spreading seen in the neighboring lymph nodes. Five-year survival rate: 81 percent
Breast Cancer Prognosis – Stage 3A
Stage 3A breast cancer includes a tumor that measures over 5 cm and indicates more significant spreading to the regional lymph nodes. Five-year survival rate: 67 percent
Breast Cancer Prognosis – Stage 3B
This stage of breast cancer includes an even further spread of the disease to the breast skin, the chest wall and the internal mammary lymph nodes, which are located in the middle of the chest. Five-year survival rate: 54 percent
Breast Cancer Prognosis – Stage 4
This is the most serious stage of breast cancer. Stage 4 breast cancer has spread to areas outside the breast, possibly including the brain, bones, liver, lungs or lymph nodes at the base of the neck. Because the cancer has spread further into the body, late stage breast cancer is difficult to treat, and therefore has a fairly low prognosis. Five-year survival rate: 20 percent.