Stage 1 or 2 – Early breast cancer

Stage 1 and 2 breast cancer is invasive breast cancer that is contained within the breast. It may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes in the breast or armpit. No cancer cells have been detected outside of the breast and armpit, or in any other organs.

The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of survival.

Types of Stage 1 & 2 Breast Cancer

Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC)

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) is the most common type of breast cancer. It accounts for approximately 80% of all breast cancers.

In cases of IDC, the primary cancer has broken through the wall of the milk duct and begins to invade the tissues of the breast. Some cells may have spread outside the breast and armpit area but are undetectable. If not treated, IDC can spread to the lymph nodes and possibly to other areas of the body.

Invasive lobule carcinoma (ILC)

Invasive lobule carcinoma (ILC) is the second most common type of breast cancer.

In cases of ILC, the cancer has broken through the wall of the lobule which produces milk and begun to invade the tissues of the breast. If not treated, ILC can spread to the lymph nodes and possibly to other areas of the body.

Treatment for early breast cancer

Treatments for Stage 1 and Stage 2 breast cancer are intensive. They include a combination of surgery to remove the main tumour (lumpectomy or mastectomy) and a lymph node dissection (removing lymph nodes from the armpit). Chemotherapy may be used to reduce the size of the tumour prior to or post-surgery. Radiotherapy may be used to eradicate any remaining traces after surgery. Depending on the pathologist’s report on the molecular makeup of the tumour and its hormone receptor status, treatment may also include hormone therapy for five years or longer.

HOW RESEARCH IS HELPING

With the support of the community, NBCF is funding several ground-breaking research projects focusing on the prevention and treatment of early breast cancer. Here’s just one…

Researcher: Dr Kylie Gorringe

Location: The University of Melbourne

Project Duration: 2018-2019

Project Title: Improving understanding of early breast cancer within the milk ducts