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Stage I Breast Cancer: Initial Workup and Surveillance for Local Recurrence and Distant Metastases in Asymptomatic Women

Stage I breast cancer is divided into two stages: stage IA and stage IB. In stage IA breast cancer, the tumor is 20 mm or smaller, and the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes under the arm. In stage IB breast cancer, the tumor is 20 mm or smaller, and the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the tumor.

Imaging tests to look for breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body are not recommended for women who don’t have any symptoms and are newly diagnosed with stage I breast cancer.

After treatment for cancer, imaging tests are recommended to monitor women for a return of cancer to the breast, the lymph nodes, or the chest wall. Mammography or digital breast tomosynthesis (also called “3-D mammography”) is usually appropriate. MRI of the breasts with and without contrast and ultrasound of the breasts may also be appropriate.

For more information, please see the Breast Cancer page.

This page was reviewed on July 15, 2022

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