Do You Know the 5 Stages of Breast Cancer?

Elder Care in Okemos MI: Do You Know the 5 Stages of Breast Cancer?

Elder Care in Okemos MI: Do You Know the 5 Stages of Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer. It is a scary term, and unfortunately, not so uncommon these days. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and based on what we know about the bodies and immune systems of the elderly, elderly women are at a higher risk for cancer.

Perhaps you or your elder care aide noticed some symptoms of breast cancer in your aging mother and took her to the doctor to get a diagnosis. Or, conversely, maybe you are just concerned about what to expect if one day she does get cancer, because it runs in your family. Whatever the case, is it helpful to know that catching breast cancer early almost always leads to a complete recovery from the disease.

It may also be useful to know the five stages of breast cancer, so that you can know what to expect if it affects someone in your life. Here are the five stages in order of rising severity:

Stage 0

In this stage, the cancer is non-invasive. It has not spread to any of the surrounding tissue, and it is localized to one area of the breast. This is a very treatable stage.

Stage I

In Stage I, there is a tumor in the breast. It can measure up to two centimeters in size, but it is still self-contained. The cancer has not spread to other tissue, and it is still relatively easy to treat. This is one of the best stages in which to discover the cancer, because it is a stage where things have not become as “complicated” as they could be.

Stage II

Stage II marks the beginning of invasiveness. In this stage, the tumor has grown to somewhere between two and five centimeters, and the cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes. If the cancer is in the right breast, the lymph nodes under the right armpit will be affected, and if it is the left breast, the lymph nodes in the left armpit will be affected.

Stage III

In this stage, the tumor has grown even more – up to two inches in diameter – and the presence of the cancer cells in the lymph nodes of the armpits is severe. The cancer may have also spread to other lymph nodes at this point, as well as to the healthy tissue in and around the breasts

Stage IV

In this final stage of breast cancer, the cancer has spread outside of the breasts and is now affecting other areas of the body. These areas are not limited to lymph nodes or tissue – they could even include organs. While in previous stages, the areas affected were in and/or around the breasts, in this stage, any part of the body could be affected, no matter how far from the breast it is.

The important thing to remember as you read this list, though, is that doctors have had a lot of success in recent years in eradicating breast cancer from women’s bodies. No matter what stage the cancer is in, there is always hope, so you and your elder care aide should make sure to get help for your loved one as soon as possible if you notice any of the signs of breast cancer.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Okemos, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.