Breast Cancer Defined

Catherine Quinones, Writer

As October begins, so does breast cancer awareness month- commonly diagnosed in women in the United States. It is important to understand how this illness affects patients globally.


 Breast cancer occurs due to uncontrolled cell growth, which could divide more rapidly than normal cells. The progression of this cancer is dependent on four factors: if any lymph nodes are involved, spreading to areas beyond the breast, if the cancer is invasive or non-invasive, and the size of the tumor. A tumor forms into an abnormal mass of tissues from unregulated cell growth, division, or when they do not die when they should.


Stage zero is considered non-invasive as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or cells that line the milk ducts of the breast, have become cancer but have not spread to neighboring breast tissue. Next, in stage one, this is the earliest stage of invasive breast cancer detecting a tumor no more than 2 cm in diameter in which spreading has yet to occur. Stage two is divided into subcategories, 2A and 2B. Invasive breast cancer in 2A is characterized by a maximum sized tumor of 2 cm which has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm. Or is 2-5 cm in diameter and has not spread to any lymph nodes. On the other hand, stage 2B occurs when the tumor is larger than 2 cm but no larger than 5 cm and has metastasized to the underarm lymph nodes.