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  • Factors that Affect Treatment and Prognosis


    Breast Cancer Prognosis
    Fact Sheet

    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 or locally advanced 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.   

    Factors that affect breast cancer staging

    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.  

    Updated 10/14/15

      Lymph Node Status next
    Tumor Size next
    Tumor Grade next
    Types of Tumors next
    Tumor Characteristics next
    Tests for Metastases next

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