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Breast Cancer

Quick Facts

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States (other than skin cancer). Each year in the United States, more than 192,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast Cancer

Risk factors include age (women over 60 are more likely to develop breast cancer), personal health history of the disease, family history, and certain genome changes. Doctors do know that bumping, bruising, or touching the breast does not cause cancer.

Specialized Physicians:
Tiffany P. Avery, MD *
Atrayee Basu Mallick, MD
Avnish Bhatia, MD
Christina Brus, MD
Andrew E. Chapman, DO
Rebecca J. Jaslow, MD *
Michael J. Ramirez, MD
Lewis J. Rose, MD, FACP
Allison Zibelli, MD, FACP

*Practice Focus: Breast Cancer

For further information contact:
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
www.jeffersonhospital.org/cancer

Definition

Cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is relatively rare (each year about 2,000 men in this country learn they have breast cancer).

Stages

Stage 0: is sometimes used to describe abnormal cells that are not invasive cancer. For example, Stage 0 is used for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). DCIS is diagnosed when abnormal cells are in the lining of a breast duct, but the abnormal cells have not invaded nearby breast tissue or spread outside the duct. Although many doctors don't consider DCIS to be cancer, DCIS sometimes becomes invasive breast cancer if not treated.

Stage I: Cancer cells have invaded breast tissue beyond where the cancer started, but the cells have not spread beyond the breast. The tumor is no more than 2 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch) across.

Stage II: The tumor is no more than 2 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch) across. The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm; or the tumor is between 2 and 5 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch to 2 inches). The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes under the arm; or the tumor is between 2 and 5 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch to 2 inches). The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm; or the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters (2 inches).The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.

Stage III: Locally advanced cancer. It is divided into Stage IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC and indicates probable spread to lymph nodes under the arm and/or lymph nodes above or below the collarbone.

Stage IV: Distant metastatic cancer. The cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones or liver.

Treatment

The treatment options for people with breast cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Patients may receive more than one type of treatment.