Stages of Breast Cancer – Virtua Health System

What Are the Stages of Breast Cancer?

(information courtesy of

Stage 0

Describes cancer that is non-invasive.  In other words, the cancer is still in the area in which it started and has not invaded nearby tissue. (Lobular carcinoma in situ and ductal carcinoma in situ for example.)

Stage I

The tumor is less than 2 centimeters (cm) and there are no lymph nodes involved although the cancer cells are invading neighboring normal tissue in the breast.

Stage II

The tumor is between 2 and 5 cm and/or has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the cancer.  The lymph nodes are not yet sticking to one another or the surrounding tissues.

Stage III

(which has 2 sub-stages):
  • Stage IIIA
    The tumor measures 5 cm and/or the surrounding lymph nodes are sticking to one another and the surrounding tissue.

  • Stage IIIB
    The tumor is any size and has spread to the breast skin, chest wall, or internal mammary lymph nodes.

Stage IV

Breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body

Updated March 22, 2017