Stages 0 & 1 Breast Cancer Overview
What Types Of Cancer Are Diagnosed As Stage 0 And 1 Breast Cancer?
The stage of cancer indicates the size of the tumor of abnormal cells and whether or not those cells are contained to the place of origin. The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), indicating the cancer cell growth starts in the milk ducts.
What does the term, “in situ” mean?
Stage 0 cancers are called “carcinoma in situ.” Carcinoma means cancer and “in situ” means “in the original place.” Three possible types of “in situ carcinoma” of the breast tissue are:
- DCIS – Ductal carcinoma in situ
- LCIS – Lobular carcinoma in situ
- Paget disease of the nipple
What Is Stage 0 DCIS?
Stage 0 breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. In Stage 0 breast cancer, the atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts or lobules into the surrounding breast tissue. Ductal Carcinoma In Situ is very early cancer that is highly treatable, but if it’s left untreated or undetected, it can spread into the surrounding breast tissue.
What is Stage 0 LCIS?
Lobular carcinoma in situ at Stage 0 generally is not considered cancer. Although it has carcinoma in the name, it really describes a growth of abnormal but non-invasive cells forming in the lobules. Some experts prefer the name lobular neoplasia for this reason because it accurately refers to the abnormal cells without naming them as cancer. LCIS, however, may indicate a woman has an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with LCIS, your doctor may recommend regular clinical breast exams and mammograms. He or she may also prescribe Tamoxifen, a hormone therapy medication that helps prevent cancer cells from growing.
What Does It Mean To Have Stage 1 Breast Cancer?
In Stage 1 breast cancer, cancer is evident, but it is contained to only the area where the first abnormal cells began to develop. The breast cancer has been detected in the early stages and can be very effectively treated.
Stage 1 can be divided into Stage 1A and Stage 1B. The difference is determined by the size of the tumor and the lymph nodes with evidence of cancer.
Stage 1A breast cancer means the following description applies:
The tumor is smaller than the approximate size of a peanut (2 centimeters or smaller) AND has not spread to the lymph nodes. (2.5 centimeters=1 inch)
Stage 1B breast cancer means one of the following descriptions applies:
Lymph nodes have cancer evidence with small clusters of cells between the approximate size of a pinprick to the approximate width of a grain of rice (.2mm to 2.0 mm).
No actual tumor is found in the breast.
The tumor is smaller than the approximate size of a peanut (2 centimeters or smaller). (2.5 centimeters=1 inch)
Similar to stage 0, breast cancer at this stage is very treatable and survivable. When breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage (there is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the breast), the 5-year relative survival rate is 100%.
What Should A Person With Stage 0 Or Stage 1 Breast Cancer Expect Regarding Treatment?
Even though Stage 0 breast cancer is considered “non-invasive,” it does require treatment, typically surgery or radiation, or a combination of the two. Chemotherapy is usually not part of the treatment regimen for earlier stages of cancer.
Stage 1 is highly treatable, however, it does require treatment, typically surgery and often radiation, or a combination of the two. Additionally, you may consider hormone therapy, depending on the type of cancer cells found and your additional risk factors. Like stage 0, Chemotherapy is often not necessary for earlier stages of cancer.
Material on this page courtesy of National Cancer Institute
Medically Reviewed on April 15, 2020