By Pure Matters
The way a cancer grows is called its pathophysiology. The grade of your cancer is the terminology doctors use to describe how the cancer cells look. Knowing how the cells look will help your doctor predict how fast the cancer may grow and spread. The stage of your cancer is the terminology doctors use to communicate the size of a tumor and where and how deeply it has spread. When the pathologist has examined the cells, he or she will issue a report that includes the cancer's grade and stage.
To grade your cancer, the pathologist gives your tumor a number from 1 to 3. Slower-growing tumors get a 1. Faster-growing tumors get a 3. The stage and grade of a cancer are unrelated to each other. However, the two categories combined describe the status of the cancer in such a way that your doctor can figure out how aggressively it must be treated. A Grade 3 cancer caught at a very early stage has a better prognosis than a Grade 1 cancer that isn't discovered until after it spreads. Ask your doctor to explain the grade of your cancer because it will be important when deciding on treatment.
How Breast Cancer Spreads
The first place cancer is found in the body is called the primary site or primary tumor.Breast cancer, like all cancers, can spread to other parts of the body. This is called metastatic cancer, or metastasis. When a cancer spreads, it is said to have metastasized.
The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the nearby lymph nodes under your arms. In some cases, it spreads to distant parts of the body, like your liver. It may also spread to your skin. Although the cancer has spread, it's not considered a new cancer. For instance, if breast cancer spreads to your liver, it is not considered liver cancer. It's called metastatic breast cancer.
The Stages of Breast Cancer
Doctors need to know what stage your breast cancer is in to decide what treatment to recommend. The stage is based on the size and extent of your tumor, the number of nodes involved, and whether the cancer has spread. Your oncologist will be able to know your stage based on information gained from a variety of tests, including the biopsy and perhaps a lymph node biopsy. All things considered, the stage of a cancer is still more important in determining the treatment strategy than its grade.