Types & Stages of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is not one disease.  Your treatment will depend on the type of breast cancer you have, and the stage of cancer.

If you look at different websites, you will see that some list up to 14 types of breast cancer; other websites may seem to list less, because they group different but similar cancers under one heading.  If you want to find out more about your particular breast cancer, be sure to ask your surgeon and/or oncologist for full details of the type of cancer you have.

Types of Breast Cancer

General Terms:

  • Non-invasive cancers are within a very limited area of the breast, unlikely to spread and the easiest to treat. They are also called in-situ cancers.
  • Invasive cancers have or can spread into surrounding breast tissue and beyond, usually into the lymph nodes under the arm.
  • Metastatic cancer has spread from the breast through the blood and affected other parts of the body, usually the bones, lungs or liver.

Stages of Breast Cancer

There are several systems that grade breast cancer according to how far it has advanced.  In general, they follow this:

  • Stage 0: abnormal cells may be in a pre-cancer stage. Any cancer cells are small and have not spread.
  • Stage 1-3: cancer has grown and/or spread into the surrounding tissue. The higher the number the more advanced the cancer.
  • Stage 4: cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized).


Breast cancer discovered at an early stage can be treated more easily and may be completely cured.

Even cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized) can often be treated to allow you to live a good quality of life for years.

For more information on types and stages of breast cancer click these links: