Breast cancer is a complicated disease. Every woman experiences it differently. Treatment depends on a number of factors, including the size of the tumor and how far it has spread, or the stage of the cancer. Staging is a way of summarizing your current condition. There are five basic stages, 0 through IV, and a number of sub-stages.
Staging doesn't tell the whole story. Multiple factors affect your breast cancer prognosis including:
Treatment is not always necessary for stage 0 breast cancer. Careful observation may be enough. When treatment is needed, it is usually very successful. The five-year survival rate is about 100%. Treatments differ depending on what kind of stage 0 cancer you have. Stage 0 cancer may include:
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) develops when abnormal cells appear in the lobes of the breast.
Paget's disease of the nipple is an uncommon type of cancer the develops in or around the nipple.
Treatments for DCIS include:
Surgery is a standard. For smaller tumors, you might get a lumpectomy, in which only the abnormal cells and some of the surrounding normal tissue are removed. Some women choose a mastectomy, in which the entire breast is removed. After a mastectomy, you might choose to have breast reconstruction surgery. Mastectomy is appropriate if a lumpectomy is unable to remove all of the in-situ cancer.
Radiation therapymay be recommended after a lumpectomy. Radiation therapy attacks any abnormal cells that might have been missed and decreases the risk of cancer recurrence.
Biological therapy. In over 50% of people with DCIS, there is overproduction of a protein called HER2. Herceptin, a drug which attacks the HER2 oncogene, is currently being studied in clinical trial to treat HER2-positive DCIS.