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Know Your Tumor Size

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Updated June 30, 2014

Compare These Objects With Your Tumor Size
Tumor Scale

Tumor Scale

Photo © Pam Stephan
Breast cancer is staged by the TNM System: Tumor Size, node status, and metastasis.

Tumor Size is divided into four classes:

  • T-1 is from 0 - 2 centimeters.
  • T-2 is from 2 - 5 cm.
  • T-3 is greater than 5cm .
  • T-4 is a tumor of any size that has broken through (ulcerated) the skin, or is attached to the chest wall.

In this photo, several objects are used to offer a scale comparison in centimeters. The black peppercorn and the black-eyed pea would fit into the T-1 category. The cranberry and walnut would be in T-2, and the lime would appear in T-3 class.

Here is a table which shows how tumor size, lymph node status, and metastasis, which are combined to calculate the stage of your cancer. This important information is used to assess your options for surgery, as well as local and systemic therapies.

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