T followed by a number from 0 to 4 describes the main primary tumor's size and if it has spread to the skin or to the chest wall under the breast. This includes inflammatory breast cancer. N followed by a number from 0 to 3 indicates whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the breast and, if so, how many lymph nodes are involved. Lymph node staging for breast cancer is based on how the nodes look under the microscope, and has changed as technology has improved. Newer methods have made it possible to find smaller and smaller collections of cancer cells, but experts haven't been sure how much these tiny deposits of cancer cells affect outlook. This is still being studied, but for now, a deposit of cancer cells must contain at least cells or be at least 0.
TNM Staging for Breast Cancer (8th Edition) - MDCalc
Skip to Content. This is called the stage. Use the menu to see other pages. Staging is a way of describing where the cancer is located, how much the cancer has grown, and if or where it has spread. Doctors use diagnostic tests to find out the cancer's stage, so staging may not be complete until all the tests are finished.
Staging is a method of categorising cancers based on their size , invasiveness and if they have spread to other sites in the body. The staging system most widely used by doctors for breast cancer is the TNM system. This system groups cancers into stages based on three primary aspects:. The most recent revision is the seventh edition, and applies to all cancers diagnosed on or after 1 January The first section of the TNM staging system refers to the primary tumour.
We will also be fully updating our staging articles on this site to include all the new information. Breast cancer is typically described in stages , according to the presence and size of the tumor and its metastasis in the axillary lymph nodes , and other factors. T refers to the tumor size. For breast tumors, bigger than 2cm changes the T category.