So your doctor said the words “You have breast cancer” and suddenly, everything stopped. He or she probably kept talking, but chances are you couldn’t digest it at the time or didn’t fully understand everything that was said. To really comprehend your diagnosis and treatment options, you have to understand the many factors that are taken into account, such as tumor type, lymph node status and stage.
Although breast cancer is often referred to as one disease, there are actually many different types of breast cancer. All breast cancers start in the breast, so they are alike in some ways, but differ in others. They can be non-invasive or invasive. And, the tumor cells can vary in location (ducts or lobules) and how they look under a microscope. These differences often affect prognosis. Learn more.
Lymph nodes are small clumps of immune cells that act as filters for the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system runs throughout the body (like the circulatory blood system) and carries fluid and cells. The lymph nodes in the underarm (the axillary lymph nodes) are the first place breast cancer is likely to spread. Learn more.
Breast cancer stage helps plan your treatment and is the most important factor for prognosis. In general, the earlier the stage, the better the prognosis will be. There are two types of breast cancer staging: Learn more.
Researchers are studying how molecular subtypes of breast cancer may be useful in planning treatment and developing new therapies. Most studies divide breast cancer into four major molecular subtypes: Learn more.
What to know before you go.
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