If a biopsy finds breast cancer, more tests are done on the tumor (and any lymph nodes removed during surgery) to help determine your prognosis and guide your treatment.
Some tests can be done on the small amount of tissue removed during a needle biopsy, while others need a larger amount of tissue removed during surgery.
The most important factor related to survival is the presence or absence of metastasis. Metastasis is the spread of cancer beyond the breast to other organs in the body (most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain).
Learn more about metastatic breast cancer.
Factors that affect prognosis and treatment for early and locally advanced breast cancer are considered in combination (rather than alone). Commonly assessed factors include:
Figure 4.3 describes these factors.
Figure 4.3:Factors that Affect Treatment and Prognosis
Which factors best determine prognosis and predict response to treatment is under constant study. A factor only becomes a part of standard practice after a great deal of research has shown it is accurate and reliable.
The three factors that are used to classify breast cancer stage are:
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)is considered stage 0 (or non-invasive) breast cancer and has the best chance for survival.
There are four main stages of invasive breast cancer (stages I-IV). The lower the breast cancer stage, the better the prognosis tends to be.
Learn more about staging.
Breast Cancer Prognosis
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