IBC Pink Ribbon Logo

Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Help Website - Stages

IBC Home

Site Map

Site Links

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Staging:

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is always staged as Stage IIIb or Stage IV if it has metastasized beyond the breast, axillary (underarm) lymph nodes, or supraclavicular (above the collarbone) lymph nodes on the ipsilateral (same side as the affected breast) side.

The following is more encompassing information to help explain what Stage IIIb and IV mean in relationship to other Stages of breast cancer.

The standard way of categorizing a tumor is by staging it using the TNM (Tumor, Nodes and Metastasis) system, which in turn determines treatment recommendations. The TNM system is specific for each type of cancer. Some biological features of the cancer such as estrogen receptor and HER2-neu oncogene expression are also determined as they also affect treatment recommendations.

2.5 cm equals approximately one inch. > means 'more than,' and < means 'less than,' and ≤ means 'equal or less than.'

The TNM classification of breast cancer:
  • Tumor size:
    • T0 - no primary tumor found
    • Tis - in situ (tumor has not invaded other tissue)
    • T1 - < 2 cm
      • T1mic ≤ 0.1 cm (microinvasive)
      • T1a > 0.1 to 0.5 cm
      • T1b > 0.5 to 1 cm
      • T1c > 1 to 2 cm
    • T2 > 2 to 5 cm
    • T3 > 5 cm
    • T4 Chest wall /skin
      • T4a - Chest wall
      • T4b - Skin edema (peau d'orange), ulceration, or satellite skin modules
      • T4c - Both 4a and 4b
      • T4d - Inflammatory carcinoma
  • Lymph nodes:
    • N0 - No lymph nodes
    • N1 - Movable axillary
    • N2a - Fixed axillary
    • N2b - Internal mammary clinically apparent
    • N3a - Infraclavicular
    • N3b - Internal mammary clinically apparent with axillary lymph node involvement
    • N3c - Supraclavicular lymph nodes
  • Distant metastasis:
    • M0 - No
    • M1 - Yes
Stage grouping:
  • Stage 0: Tis
  • Stage I: T1,N0,M0
  • Stage IIA: T0-1,N1,M0 or T2,N0,M0
  • Stage IIB: T2,N1,M0 or T3,N0,M0
  • Stage IIIA: T3,N1,M0 or T0-3,N2,M0
  • Stage IIIB: T4,any N,M0
  • Stage IIIC: any T,N3,M0
  • Stage IV: any T,any N,M1
The cancer is staged depending on factors which include the size of the tumor, whether there is lymph node involvement or not and whether there is distant spread of cancer cells. Stages are a composite of the TNM. Stage I is a small tumor (T1) without any spread, while stage IV is metastatic disease. Stages correllate with long-term prognosis, and treatment decisions are often made on the basis of the stage.

Website Search Engine
Search this website for specific information available about Inflammatory Breast Cancer.