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Home > Understanding Breast Cancer > Diagnosis > Metastases and Staging


Metastases and Staging


The letter “M’ in the TNM breast cancer staging system shows the presence or absence of metastases. Cancer has either spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other areas of the body (M1) or it has not (MO).

Tests for metastases include:

  • Bone scans (to look for bone metastases)
  • Blood tests (to test for liver or bone metastases)
  • X-rays or CT scans (to look for lung, liver, abdominal or pelvis metastases)
  • PET scans (to look for metastases throughout the body)


Metastases cannot be assessed


No metastases



Learn about treatment for metastatic breast cancer.

Updated 02/05/14


Lymph Node Status  

Stages of Breast Cancer 



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