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How big are breast lumps: What Does a Breast Lump Feel Like?


What Does a Breast Lump Feel Like?

Finding a lump in your breast can be frightening — but although breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women, most breast lumps are not cancer. In fact, more than 80 percent of them end up being benign. In a small percentage of women, a painful breast lump turns out to be cancer.

Dr. Anthony Addesa, Director of Radiation Oncology at The Medical Group of South Florida says it is important for women to speak with their doctor if they notice changes to their breasts.

What does a breast lump feel like?

In general, cancerous breast lumps tend to be more irregular in shape. They may also feel firm or solid, and might be fixed to the tissue in the breast. They are also often painless. However, in a small percentage of women, a painful breast lump turns out to be cancer.

Breast cancer lumps can vary in size. Typically, a lump has to be about one centimeter (about the size of a large lima bean) before a person can feel it; however, it depends on where the lump arises in the breast, how big the breast is, and how deep the lesion is.

What does a tumor feel like under the skin?

Lumps, tumors, and all sorts of things one can feel in the breast can feel surprisingly similar: firm, as opposed to the normal, more spongy tissue of the breast. They are often irregularly shaped as opposed to a sphere or ball shape. Lumps are also usually mobile within the breast and can be moved around within the breast.

However, it’s important to note that this can vary from person to person. Ultimately, anytime you feel something that’s different from what your normal breast tissue feels like, or if you notice anything that generally feels unusual, you should speak to your medical team about that.

Where are breast cancer lumps usually found?

Lumps can appear anywhere within the breast. The location does not determine whether or not it is breast cancer.

Do breast cancer lumps move?

Most lumps will be movable within the breast tissue on examination, but breast lumps typically do not “move” around the breast. However, sometimes a breast lump will be fixed, or stuck, to the chest wall.

What if I only feel a lump when I’m sitting?

Sometimes if the breast is positioned differently, you’ll feel different things. In general, regardless of how you are positioned, when you feel an abnormality in the breast — if it feels different or new — you should reach out to the medical team for an evaluation.

What if the lump feels like a ridge? What if I have a pea-sized lump in my breast that doesn’t move?

You should have a familiarity with your body and what the breast normally feels like, including its normal shape, appearance, and texture. Generally, women are advised to analyze their breasts in the shower with soapy fingers to get a nice feel of the normal tissues. If you do that and have some familiarity with your normal breast tissue, and then find something different, you should reach out to your medical team.

What does a hard lump in the breast mean?

Hard lumps in the breast can be either benign or malignant. The feel of the lump itself is rarely enough to determine if the lump is a cancerous one or not.

Cancer tumors versus cysts and fibroadenomas

Cysts, which are fluid-filled lumps, are common in the breast and are benign. They form when fluid builds up inside breast glands, and tend to be smooth or round. Fibroadenomas, which are benign tumors made up of glandular and connective breast tissue, are usually smooth and firm or rubbery to the touch. Both of these conditions tend to affect younger women; fibroadenomas are most common in women in their 20s and 30s, and cysts are most common in women under 40.

Despite these common descriptions, it is impossible to tell by touch whether a lump is cancer.

Always seek medical attention – even during the coronavirus pandemic

At The Medical Group of South Florida, we encourage you to be proactive about your health and get screened. Our supportive staff will be there every step of the way to help you through the screening process and, if needed, in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

To learn more about cancer screening at The Medical Group of South Florida, contact us here or call 561.622.6111 for more information.

Breast cancer tumor size chart: Factors and more

The size of a breast tumor and how fast it grows will vary widely. A stage 1 tumor is usually less than 2 centimeters across, but this is not the only factor in staging breast cancer.

The size of the tumor is only one of several factors that doctors consider when staging a person’s breast cancer. Other factors include the location of the tumor, whether it has spread outside of the breast, the appearance of the cancer cells, and the presence of hormone receptors.

This article presents a tumor size chart and discusses how tumor size affects cancer staging. We also cover other factors that contribute to staging, treatment, and a person’s outlook.

Doctors determine the stage of cancer as part of their diagnosis. To confirm the breast cancer stage, they assess several different factors, including tumor size.

Doctors use multiple tests and examinations to evaluate the specific characteristics of a person’s breast cancer. They use this information to assign values to the TNM staging system, where:

  • T refers to the size of the main, or primary, tumor.
  • N refers to whether cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • M refers to whether the cancer is metastatic, which means if it has spread to distant parts of the body.

The overall stages of cancer range from 0 to 4. Stage 0 means the breast cancer is at a very early stage and has not yet spread. Stage 4 refers to late stage breast cancer, which means it has spread to other parts of the body.

While every person’s breast cancer is different, its stage generally indicates an individual’s treatment options and outlook.

People with early stage breast cancer are likely to have smaller tumors that doctors can easily treat. Larger tumors tend to indicate later stage breast cancer, which may be more difficult to treat.

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Doctors measure the size of the primary breast cancer tumor at its widest point. They usually give the size in millimeters (mm) or centimeters (cm).

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), doctors use the following system to grade tumor size:

  • TX: The doctor is unable to assess the primary tumor.
  • T0: The doctor has not found evidence of a primary tumor.
  • T1: The tumor is 2 cm or less in diameter.
  • T2: The tumor is more than 2 cm but less than 5 cm across.
  • T3: The tumor is larger than 5 cm in width.
  • T4: The tumor can be of any size but is growing into the chest wall or skin. This category includes inflammatory breast cancer.

Tumor size is just one of several factors that doctors consider when determining the stage of a person’s breast cancer. Other factors include the following:

Lymph node status

When staging a person’s breast cancer, doctors will determine whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes. They do this by removing one or more of the lymph nodes in the armpit and examining them under a microscope.

Healthcare professionals categorize lymph node status using the N value of the TNM system, where:

  • NX means that the doctor was unable to assess the lymph node status.
  • N0 indicates that the doctor did not detect cancer in the nearby lymph nodes.
  • N1, N2, and N3 indicate that cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.

Higher values indicate the involvement of more lymph nodes.


Metastasis is when cancer spreads from its original location in the breast to distant parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs, brain, or bones.

The symptoms of metastatic breast cancer depend on which organs the cancer has spread to, and they can vary greatly. Doctors may use additional scans, tests, and exams to diagnose a person with metastatic breast cancer.

Healthcare professionals categorize metastasis using the M value of the TNM system, where:

  • MX means that the doctor was unable to assess metastasis.
  • MO indicates that the doctor did not detect any metastasis.
  • M1 means that breast cancer has spread to other organs.

Hormone receptor status

When staging breast cancers, doctors test the tumor cells for the presence of hormone receptors. The receptors are proteins that respond to the hormones estrogen and progesterone by instructing the cancer cells to grow.

Doctors describe breast cancer that has receptors for estrogen as being estrogen receptor-positive, or ER-positive. They refer to breast cancer that has receptors for progesterone as progesterone receptor-positive, or PR-positive.

Breast cancers with hormone receptors are far more likely to respond to hormone therapy.

HER2 status

HER2 status refers to whether breast cancer cells are producing too much of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Doctors test for HER2 status by taking a sample of the cancer and sending it to a laboratory for analysis.

Healthcare professionals describe breast cancer with higher than normal levels of HER2 as being HER2-positive. HER2-positive cancers are typically more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, but they are also more likely to respond to targeted therapies.

The appearance of cancer cells

The appearance, or differentiation, of cancer cells is another factor in cancer staging. Doctors grade cancer cells according to how similar they appear to noncancerous cells under a microscope.

Healthcare professionals classify cancer cells that are close to resembling healthy cells as being low grade or well-differentiated. These cancers typically grow more slowly.

High grade, or poorly differentiated, cancer cells appear very different from normal cells and tend to grow faster.

After assessing the different characteristics of the breast cancer, doctors use the information to determine its overall stage from 0–4.

Here is an overview of each breast cancer stage:

  • Stage 0: This cancer is noninvasive and is only present inside the milk ducts. This stage includes ductal carcinoma in situ.
  • Stage 1: These are small tumors that either have not spread to the lymph nodes or have only affected a small area of the sentinel lymph node.
  • Stage 2: These are larger tumors that have spread to some nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage 3: These tumors are large or growing into surrounding tissues, such as breast skin, muscle, and lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4: These are tumors that started in the breast but have spread to other parts of the body.

When recommending treatment options for breast cancer, a doctor will take into account:

  • the stage of the breast cancer
  • the person’s age, general health, and personal preferences
  • whether the cancer is ER-positive, PR-positive, or HER2-positive – for example, Triple Negative Breast Cancer has none of these markers
  • whether someone is BRCA-positive — BRCA is the breast cancer gene that can cause tumor growth
  • the speed at which the cancer is growing

Treatment options can include:

  • surgery, which may involve a mastectomy, removal of one or both breasts, or the removal of any affected lymph nodes
  • radiation therapy
  • chemotherapy
  • hormone therapy
  • targeted therapy

Early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer can significantly improve a person’s outlook.

According to the ACS, the 5-year relative survival rate for localized breast cancer is 99%. This means that people with this type of cancer are 99% as likely to survive for at least 5 years after a diagnosis compared to those without the condition.

The 5-year relative survival rate is 86% for individuals with breast cancer that has spread into neighboring tissues, and 29% for those whose cancer has spread to other organs. The overall 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer is 90%.

However, these figures are only estimates, and experts based them on data from 2010–2017. Importantly, cancer treatments are advancing all of the time, and each person’s outlook is different.

Tumor size is an important factor when doctors are determining the stage of a person’s breast cancer. However, healthcare professionals also take into account several other factors, including:

  • lymph node involvement
  • the location of the cancer and whether it has spread
  • hormone receptor status
  • HER2 protein status
  • the appearance of the cancer cells

A doctor will consider all of these factors as well as the person’s age, general health, and personal preferences when recommending treatment options.

People with later stage breast cancers may need more treatment than those whose cancer is at an early stage. An early diagnosis and treatment of the breast cancer can significantly improve a person’s outlook. However, everyone’s experience of breast cancer is different.

Read this article in Spanish.

Breast cancer – types, symptoms and signs, diagnosis and treatment

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Oncology of breast cancer are extraneous neoplasms that appear in the glandular tissue. The number of subspecies of this disease known to date is about twenty.

Cancer cells differ from ordinary ones in their accelerated metabolism and abnormal structure. When breast cancer occurs, these cells constantly grow, and later penetrate into the lymph nodes and other organs.

Modern science believes that the main catalyst for breast cancer is a distortion of the hormonal background, as a result of which all other symptoms of cancer occur. Indeed, according to statistics, it is found more often during menopause. After all, this is a period of a sharp change in the production of various hormones by the female body, affecting the state of the mammary gland.
Both excess and lack of sex hormones are considered negative factors. Thus, the incidence in women who have gone through childbirth and lactation is several times lower than in women who have not given birth or who have had abortions. In the latter, signs of breast cancer are more common.


Types of breast cancer in women can be according to various criteria, we will give the simplest of the classifications, which even a non-specialist can easily understand.

  • Nodular – occurs more often than others and is the formation of small nodules, which are nothing more than necrotic (affected) areas. At the middle stage, it is easily palpable, has a heterogeneous nodular structure. The tumor is spherical in shape, but may have lateral branches. The tissue of the gland changes, soldering. These first oncology signals are visible to the naked eye when the arms are raised above shoulder level. Visually, it can also be diagnosed by changing the shade of the skin (yellow, red, brown) and papillary secretions. At subsequent stages, it leads to inflammation of the lymph nodes, the progress of the neoplasm, and, accordingly, to an increase in breast volume. Characteristic keratinized skin and open sores may also appear.
  • Diffuse – less common than nodular, but more dangerous than an example. After all, it develops many times faster and is accompanied by relatively early metastasis. Due to the defeat of the gland, the chest swells, and the skin changes. Diffuse has its own types:
    • Infiltrative – a dense formation appears, and the skin swells and becomes covered with a characteristic crust. In addition, the lymph nodes are affected, and the disease is most clearly manifested near the areola of the nipple.
    • Inflammatory – otherwise may be called mastitis-like and occurs due to improper treatment. Seals inside the chest are painful, the chest swells and becomes bluish. Lymph nodes and capillary vessels suffer.
    • Armored – the course of the disease is very long, the tumor affects not only the mammary glands, but can also spread further. Instead of the puffiness observed in other species, there is a decrease in the volume of the breast, its pigmentation and the appearance of multiple nodules, which then merge into one large tumor.
  • Nipple cancer is the least frequently mentioned subtype of this area, affecting only 3% of patients. Captures the ducts of the nipple and peripapillary region. The first signs of breast cancer in women will be marks on the inside of the bra cups. Then swelling occurs, crusts and ulcers appear. With development, the neoplasm can affect other parts of the breast, but the progress of the disease is extremely slow.


To understand how to determine the stage of breast cancer, you should know how they differ. The diameter of the tumor, the duration of the disease, how affected the body is, what is the prognosis for survival is considered. There are initial and 4 main stages of the development of the disease:

  • Initial – tumor cells appeared recently, usually detected by chance during a physical examination. Such breast cancer in women is of little danger, the chances of being successfully cured are incredibly high and are above 98%. Doctors recommend undergoing a medical examination on their own and in a clinic (antenatal clinic) on a regular basis.
  • The first is a neoplasm up to 2 centimeters in diameter and has not yet affected nearby tissues. Survival rate for stage 1 breast cancer is greater than 96%, which makes the forecast extremely favorable.
  • The second – the diameter is more than 2 cm, but has not yet exceeded 5 cm. Survival is due to the vulnerability of the lymphatic system, but the chances of successful disposal are quite high (up to 90%).
  • Third – the prognosis for successfully getting rid of the disease is not so great – up to 70%, depends on the degree of damage and the distance from the focus of the disease of the lymph nodes. But there are no metastases in healthy organs yet.
  • The fourth – the last stage of oncology, when cells with the bloodstream and lymph flow enter other organs, creating multiple foci of the disease. The probability of cure is extremely small – up to 10%

Development rate

The question of how quickly the disease develops cannot be answered with absolute certainty. Progress is driven by many factors, including:

  • Patient age
  • Hormonal background
  • Living conditions
  • Concomitant diseases
  • Type of cancer

The last factor in order is one of the most important, since there are more aggressive types of oncological diseases and less aggressive ones. Thus, the transition from stage to stage and the overall progress of the disease in one patient can take a year, and in another 10 years.


The answer to the question of how long people live with breast cancer lies in the extent to which cancer has spread to the breast. For a more precise definition in medicine, the term “five-year survival rate” is used – the probability of living more than 5 years after diagnosing oncology at a specific stage.

At the initial stage, as mentioned above, the average life expectancy for breast cancer is practically no different from the usual one, because it is successfully cured in most patients. But the problem is that at least half of the patients detect cancer at 3-4 degrees.

Stage Five-year survival
First Up to 95%
Second Up to 80%
Third Up to 40%
Fourth To 10%

In addition to survival, the issue of recurrence is also relevant. Current medical treatments do not guarantee 100% killing of cancer cells. Therefore, after some time, the disease can return with renewed vigor and affect other important elements of the patient’s body. The more cancer cells have grown before the start of therapy or surgery, the greater the likelihood of recurrence of breast cancer. At the same time, the most dangerous are the first 5 years after a seemingly successful therapy. Therefore, cancer patients should be followed up regularly after the end of treatment. This will make the prognosis for breast cancer more favorable.


Of all the methods of early diagnosis of breast cancer, self-examination is the most important, because it is extremely important to notice symptoms early. Doctors insist on monthly self-examination for all women over 35 and those who are at risk.
You need to start with a simple examination of the chest with a mirror. If one of them is enlarged relative to the other, deformation is observed, or the skin gradually turns into a lemon peel, you should immediately contact a specialist. This is the simplest initial diagnosis of breast cancer.

It is more likely to identify breast cancer on your own in the second week after the start of the menstrual cycle. It is easier to recognize it if, when examining, standing or lying down, one hand is thrown behind the head, and the other helps to examine.
In addition to visual inspection, it is necessary to check the chest by touch for tumor nodes. If discomfort or pain is felt during palpation, a visit to the mammologist should not be postponed. Abnormal discharge from the nipples is determined by gently squeezing them. Rapid detection of the disease is a guarantee of an absolute cure, so it is vital.

How to detect breast cancer in a clinical setting

The set of tools and techniques for detecting breast cancer in physicians is quite wide. The main ones are:

  • Mammography
  • Thermography
  • Magnetic resonance therapy
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • Cytology
  • Radioisotope scanning
  • Mammography scintimetry

These modern techniques not only make it possible to make an accurate diagnosis, differentiating it from, for example, mastopathy, but also give a concrete idea of ​​the position, size of the tumor and its malignancy.

Symptoms and signs

Signs of breast cancer in the first stage appear little at all or are barely noticeable. There are, for example, small nodules that appear when feeling. It is curious that painful neoplasms often indicate a benign tumor, but malignant pain does not bring in the initial stages. The knot may be motionless, or it may slightly move under the pressure of the fingers.
Other signals of breast cancer are a change in the texture of the skin, it may appear folds, wrinkles, swelling, or an orange-like peel. Small sores may also appear, which in the later stages suppurate and bleed.

If the disease affects the nipple, then the signal for this is pathological discharge, as well as changes in the skin of the nipple and areola around it. Do not confuse this with secretions during lactation (feeding).
The symptoms of breast cancer also include the growth of lymph nodes, which is typical for grade 2. And at first the nearby nodes under the armpits suffer.


If you are extremely concerned about whether breast cancer is being treated, then we are confidently ready to give a positive answer. During treatment, it is necessary to completely remove all tumor cells. Naturally, the easier it is to do this, the earlier the neoplasm was detected.

Modern methods of treating breast cancer include many different therapies, but the most effective method has been and remains surgical, in which it is possible to completely remove the breast or remove only the tumor with its small size.

Mastectomy – the removal of one of the patient’s breasts, is indicated in the later stages of cancer. With the current level of development of plastic surgery, such operations are often carried out together with reconstructive ones. That is, immediately after the removal of the breast, an implant is implanted that externally imitates the organ. After a mastectomy, which is usually prescribed from the third degree of cancer, a thorough examination of nearby tissues and lymph nodes is carried out to exclude possible relapses.

Other treatments for the disease include the following therapies:

  • Radiation – slows down the growth of tumor cells. Actual when surgical treatment is impossible or tumor growth is aggressive.
  • Hormonal – a number of oncological neoplasms are vulnerable to certain sex hormones, so doctors can use their artificial analogues or antagonists, but only after a thorough histological examination in the laboratory.
  • Targeted – since cancer cells develop their own protection against drugs and hormones that destroy them, agents have been developed that reduce this protection and act selectively only on malignant tumor cells.
  • Chemical – consists in the use of drugs that are detrimental to cancer cells. It is usually prescribed from the second degree of the disease, and also if hormone therapy is ineffective. At the same time, chemotherapy can, firstly, prepare a foreign formation for surgical intervention, and secondly, help neutralize metastases that have spread throughout the body, and, finally, reduce a malignant formation to an operable size.

Treatment should be carried out comprehensively under the constant supervision of a specialist, including after recovery. Note that a number of methods have their own complications and side effects, eliminated by other drugs and other medical means.


Scientists believe that the key factor in the occurrence of a tumor focus is hormonal. But there are other causes of breast cancer in women. Consider what increases the likelihood of the disease:

  • Cases of similar diseases in relatives
  • Previously diagnosed non-cancer breast disease
  • Old age
  • No pregnancy and/or childbirth
  • Too short (less than a year) breastfeeding period
  • Late childbirth (over 35)
  • Early menstruation or late menopause
  • Use of hormonal contraceptives
  • Overweight
  • Alcohol and tobacco abuse
  • Small percentage of adipose tissue in the breast structure

The number of factors is quite large and all of them play a role in the occurrence of this oncological disease.

How to avoid

We emphasize right away that it is impossible to 100% insure yourself against breast cancer. However, it is possible to significantly reduce the likelihood of disease (alcohol, tobacco, overweight) and realize what nature has prepared for the female body. This is primarily about childbirth and breastfeeding. Long lactation and childbirth (preferably not alone) at an active age significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer.

The modern world dictates certain fashion trends for girls, not all of which are safe. For example, topless tanning or extreme sports with periodic injuries in the chest area carry an additional risk of cancer. Stress also plays an important role, so a calm lifestyle, proper nutrition and moderate exercise will help you stay healthy for many years!

Association “Hello!” , together with oncologists, has developed a series of brochures, from which patients and their loved ones can receive up-to-date information on modern diagnostics and treatment: breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer, opportunities
immuno-oncology, as well as psychological and legal support.

What is the survival rate for breast cancer at different stages

In the initial stages, women who have just been diagnosed with breast cancer are overloaded with information and terrified of the choices they have to make. From all sides they are bombarded with numbers about the prevalence of the disease, facts about the treatment, clinics and doctors. But the first and most important thing to do is calm down. It must be understood that advances in modern medicine give a chance for successful treatment at any stage . Therefore, our article is about what the forecast can be and how it can be improved.

  • How prognosis and stage are related
  • Prognosis at stage 1
  • Prognosis at stage 2
  • Prognosis at stage 3
  • Prognosis at stage 4
  • Choosing a clinic for treatment
  • Breast cancer in stars

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, in the past few years, breast cancer has increasingly been diagnosed early, when there are no symptoms. The diagnosis is made during mammography . This is an ultrasound examination with which the doctor detects seals and other abnormalities in the mammary gland.

The next step in is a series of tests to get more accurate information about the tumor. During the study, the doctor can determine that the tumor is benign and does not pose a danger at the moment. In this case, the patient is recommended to undergo a second examination in a few months. If there is a high probability that the neoplasm is malignant, the doctor prescribes additional diagnostics , and then draws up a treatment plan.

According to international medical recommendations and protocols, the following main methods of treatment are used for breast cancer: removal of the tumor or mammary gland with subsequent reconstruction, radiation, hormonal, targeted and immune therapy.

How are prognosis and stage of breast cancer related?

After a cancer is found, the doctor determines whether it has spread to other parts of the body. This process is called staging . The prognosis of survival and the plan for subsequent treatment depend on the stage of the cancer.

Oncologists around the world use the TNM system to describe cancer stages. It allows to characterize the disease according to three main parameters:

  • Т (tumor) — tumor, its size and tumor markers.
  • N (node) – lymph nodes with cancer cells.
  • M (metastasis) – secondary tumors in distant parts of the body – metastases.

Doctors collect information about the tumor, lymph nodes and metastases, determine how different cancer cells are from benign ones (grade of malignancy), and whether their growth depends on changes in hormone levels. Based on the data obtained, the exact stage of breast cancer is determined.

American doctors identify 5 stages of breast cancer . The earliest is stage 0 (in situ). In this case, the tumor is localized only in the ducts of the mammary gland. At this stage, the prognosis for recovery is the most favorable. The next 4 stages of breast cancer differ in size of the neoplasm and the presence of metastases. The higher the stage, the more the cancer has spread.

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What is the survival rate for breast cancer?

According to American Cancer Society statistics, more than 5 years living after breast cancer treatment:

  • 99% of women in whom the tumor was found only in the breast tissue;
  • 86% of women whose cancer cells have spread to nearby tissues and lymph nodes;
  • 28% of women with metastases in other organs.

Experts emphasize that these are averaged data. Survival prognosis for cancer is individual for each patient. It depends on age, health status, characteristics of the tumor and subsequent treatment.

How long do people live with stage 1 breast cancer?

Doctors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology classify stage 1 breast cancer into 1A and 1B.

  • 1A is a small tumor that may have spread to adjacent tissues but not to the lymph nodes. There are no metastases. (T1, N0, M0).
  • 1B – cancer has spread to a nearby lymph node and formed a tumor 0.2 to 2 mm in size. In this case, the neoplasm in the gland itself may not be detected or have a size of less than 20 mm. (T0, N1, M0 or T1, N1, M0).

According to statistics, it is at stage 1 that this type of oncology is most often detected – in 63% of cases . Half of them are women between the ages of 15 and 40.

Due to the fact that the disease affected the minimum number of tissues, more than 5 years live 99 patients out of 100, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

How long do people with stage 2 breast cancer live?

If the patient is not treated at stage 1, the tumor continues to grow. It can spread to the axillary lymph nodes, which are closest to the breast. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, stage 2 is also divided into 2A and 2B.

At 2A:

  • T0, N1, M0 – no tumor was found in the mammary gland itself, but from 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes are affected by cancer cells.
  • T1, N1, M0 – breast neoplasm is up to 20 mm in size and has spread to 1-3 axillary lymph nodes.
  • T2, N0, M0 — tumor size from 20 to 50 mm. No cancer cells were found in the lymph nodes and other organs.

At 2B:

  • T2, N1, M0 – a neoplasm in the breast has a size of 20 to 50 mm and has spread to 1-3 axillary lymph nodes .
  • T3, N0, M0 – the tumor is larger than 50 mm and the lymph nodes are not affected.

Specialists of the authoritative medical portal Breastcancer.org claim that other factors are also important for determining the stage of at this stage: the degree of malignancy of tumor cells, their dependence on the hormones estrogen and progesterone, HER2 status (amount of a specific protein , which affects the growth rate of the neoplasm). For example, if the tumor is 2 to 5 cm in size and the cancer cells have spread to 1-3 axillary lymph nodes, but it is susceptible to hormones and the HER2 protein, doctors may classify the tumor as stage 1.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 86 patients out of 100 live for 5 years after stage 2 breast cancer treatment.

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Prognosis in the treatment of breast cancer at stage 3

In stage 3 breast cancer, malignant cells spread to neighboring tissues and organs. Depending on the size of the tumor, the number of affected lymph nodes and metastases, the specialists of the American Society of Clinical Oncology divide this stage into:

  • 3A Primary tumor of any size and 4 to 9 axillary or internal breast lymph nodes involved (T0/T1/T2/T3; N2; M0). This stage also includes a tumor larger than 50 mm, which has spread to 1-3 axillary lymph nodes (T3, N1, M0).
  • 3B – the disease has spread to the inner surface of the chest and part of the diaphragm, causing ulceration on the skin of the breast, or the patient was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. Nearby lymph nodes may be unaffected or affected up to 9axillary and internal lymph nodes. (T4; N0/N1/ N2; M0).
  • 3C – neoplasm of any size. Malignant cells were found in 10 or more lymph nodes in the armpit, in the breast, and under the collarbone (any value for T, N3, M0).

As with the second stage, other characteristics of the tumor influence the exact diagnosis.

According to studies, only 6% of women are diagnosed with breast cancer at this stage. Even though the disease affects more and more tissues, modern methods of treatment allow patients to return to their normal lives.

How long do people live with stage 4 breast cancer?

Doctors call stage 4 disease advanced or metastatic breast cancer. At this stage, the tumor can be of any size and has spread to other organs such as the lungs, liver, bones, brain, distant lymph nodes, and the inside of the chest (any value for T, any value for N, M1).

How can the right clinic improve the prognosis?

Regarding the prognosis of survival, oncologists note that all indicators are average. Actually the probability of recovery for each patient is individual. It depends not only on the stage, but in many respects on how quickly the treatment is started, how correct and of high quality it is. That is why the choice of clinic is of great importance.

When choosing a medical center for the treatment of breast cancer, Bookimed patients pay attention to the qualifications of doctors and the methods available there. For example, in some modern clinics, special technologies are used that make it possible to excise the neoplasm as much as possible. Thanks to a special device, the surgeon immediately examine the removed tissue. If they contain cancer cells, the operation is continued. This reduces the risk of tumor recurrence in the future.

If a patient needs to remove a large tumor or a complete breast (radical mastectomy), a clinic can be considered where doctors perform breast reconstruction .

Bookimed coordinating doctors selected TOP-3 clinics for the treatment of breast cancer abroad. They took into account the availability of modern methods of diagnostics, surgery and therapy in medical centers, the experience of doctors, the level of prices, feedback from patients who have already undergone treatment, and the ability to quickly organize a trip.

Anadolu Medical Center (Istanbul, Turkey)

Anadolu is a multidisciplinary medical center that cooperates with top US clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital. Thanks to this, patients receive modern treatment here according to American protocols and at more affordable Turkish prices. In addition, all procedures in the clinic are carried out on modern equipment. This confirms the fact that Anadolu every year is included in the ranking of the 9 most high-tech clinics in the world0338 from Best Colleges.

For the treatment of breast cancer in Anadolu, surgery, radiation, targeted, immune and hormone therapy are used. For irradiation, the clinic uses modern CyberKnife M6, Varian Edge and Radixact units. They act on the tumor with an accuracy of 0.2 mm, so they are most effective and safe for neighboring tissues.

The clinic operates a special program for women at an early stage of the disease. It involves removing the tumor and checking the lymph nodes during the operation. Its cost is from $18,200. Read more about the program.


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  • American Standards of Treatment at Turkish prices. Anadolu Clinic cooperates with the top US hospital – Johns Hopkins Hospital. Anadolu specialists undergo training and internships in America and use American protocols in treatment.
  • Doctors with 20 years of experience . Breast oncology patients in Anadolu are managed by a clinical oncologist, Professor Yeshim Yildirim, who has received accreditation from the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). Breast cancer surgery is performed by Prof. Metin Çakmakci, a specialist in breast-sparing surgery.
  • Anadolu doctors use the device for intraoperative diagnostics , which allows you to save the breast as much as possible and avoid repeated surgical intervention.
  • This is the best adult cancer center in 2018 according to Bookimed patients.
  • Anadolu is in the TOP of the most high-tech clinics in the world from the organization Top Master’s in Healthcare Administration. This confirms that the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in the hospital is carried out with the help of modern, high-precision medical equipment.

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Gamma Knife $10000 – $12000
Breast Cancer Surgery $10000 – $15000
Radiation therapy for breast cancer $8000 – $16000

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Helios Clinic Berlin-Buch (Berlin, Germany)

Helios Berlin-Buch is a medical center that is in the TOP of the best hospitals in Germany according to Focus magazine. The oncology department of the clinic where breast tumors are treated has received accreditation from the German Cancer Society (DKG) and operates in accordance with international and European medical protocols.

In addition to standard treatment methods, innovative cancer therapy is available at Helios Berlin-Buch : intraoperative electron beam therapy, destruction of neoplasms by high temperatures, original targeted drugs.

According to the Helios Berlin-Buch survey, 97 out of 100 patients treated here would recommend this clinic to their loved ones if necessary.


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  • The high level of qualification of doctors and the availability of equipment necessary for effective treatment of breast cancer confirms accreditation from the German Cancer Society (DKG).
  • Surgery, chemo-, immuno-, radiation and targeted therapy are available in the clinic for the treatment of breast cancer.
  • 97% of the cancer clinic patients are satisfied with the quality of diagnostics and treatment, so they will recommend it to their friends (according to Helios Berlin-Buch statistics).
  • The hospital is included in TOP of the best clinics in Germany according to Focus magazine. The rating is based on the level of technical equipment of hospitals, the qualifications of doctors, data on the success of treatment and patient reviews.
  • Helios Berlin-Buch welcomes 200,000 people every year.

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Gamma Knife $8682 – $19534
Radiotherapy for colorectal cancer $15193 – $21704

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Medical Center. Sourasky (Tel Aviv, Israel)

Medical Center. Sourasky (Ichilov) is the largest and most sought-after clinic in Israel among foreign patients, according to Newsweek magazine.

For the treatment of breast cancer here apply international medical protocols and own developments . The clinic has a research center where new drugs for cancer therapy are being studied.

Ichilov surgeons specialize in low-traumatic organ-preserving operations that allow saving the breast. Doctors perform complete removal of the gland only in extreme cases and combine this procedure with reconstruction.

New modifications of the Novalis TrueBeam STX unit manufactured by Varian Medical System are used for irradiation in the clinic. A special system allows you to accurately affect the tumor and not damage healthy tissue.

Tel Aviv

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  • The Sourasky Clinic performs tomosynthesis – a three-dimensional mammography that does not require compression (compression) of the breast. Due to this, the tissues of the gland do not overlap, and the doctor determines the exact location of the tumor, and the procedure itself does not cause discomfort.
  • This is one of the few clinics in the world where a tumor test for its sensitivity to various immuno- and targeted drugs – FoundationOne CDx is available.
  • Included in the list of the most popular clinics in the world (Newsweek magazine). The hospital receives 400,000 patients annually.

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Breast cancer in stars: real life examples

Shannen Doherty, actress, battling advanced breast cancer

In August 2015, actress Shannen Doherty, best known for her roles in TV series Beverly Hills and Charmed, confirmed to People magazine that she was being treated for breast cancer. In April 2017, she went into remission after surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, however, by February 2020, her breast cancer had returned. Now the actress is in stage 4.

Shannen Doherty notes that she initially hid her diagnosis during filming, because people can work even at stage 4. “Our life does not end from the minute we receive this diagnosis. We still have things to do.” (Photo source: depositphotos.com)

Cynthia Nixon, the actress was diagnosed with breast cancer after routine mammography

Izvest actress Cynthia Nixon from the series “Sex and the City” also decided some This is the time not to talk about your illness. In 2006, she was diagnosed, then underwent a lumpectomy (removal of a malignant tumor) and radiation therapy. The mother of the actress also survived breast cancer. Cynthia stated that knowing she was at risk made her stronger when she faced the diagnosis herself. Nixon has now joined an organization that helps educate women around the world about breast cancer. (Photo source: depositphotos.com)

Summary treatment. It is:

  • 99% – at stage 1;
  • 86% – at stages 2-3;
  • 28% – at 4 stages.

The prognosis also depends on how correct and high-quality treatment the patient receives. Therefore, it is especially important to choose a clinic where new technologies and techniques are available.

TOP-3 clinics for the treatment of breast cancer according to patients Bookimed:

  • Anadolu Medical Center is a multidisciplinary medical center that cooperates with the top US clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital.
  • Helios Clinic Berlin-Buch is a medical center that is included in the TOP of the best hospitals in Germany according to Focus magazine.
  • Medical Center. Sourasky (Ichilov) is the largest and most sought after clinic in Israel among foreign patients.

Answers to frequently asked questions

How long do people with stage 1 breast cancer live?

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 90 out of 100 women live more than 5 years after being treated for stage 1 breast cancer, when the tumor is small and has only affected adjacent tissues. 84 patients out of 100 live more than 10 years.