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Stage 2 Breast Cancer Symptoms And Prognosis

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Mar 18, 2023

Stage 2 Breast Cancer Symptoms And Prognosis

How long does stage 2 breast cancer live or stay in the body? Stage 2 breast cancer is invasive breast cancer, with a tumor size of 2-5cm. It may also consider that cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes on the same breast where the tumor is located. What other signs and breast cancer symptoms should you watch out for?

What is Stage 2 Breast Cancer?

Stage 2 breast cancer represents a mildly advanced stage of the disease. At this stage, cancer cells have gone out of the tumor to reach the surrounding breast tissue. However, at this stage, it has not metastasized far.

Stage 2 breast cancer is often discovered during a self-exam. Regular self-exams and screenings are important because they help detect cancer at an early stage, when it can be completely cured.

Treatments for stage 2 breast cancer

In general, stage 2 breast cancer has a pretty good prognosis with current cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and endocrine therapy. Early treatment of breast cancer improves life expectancy and survival rates.

Local treatments for stage 2 breast cancer include surgery and radiation. These methods remove or destroy cancer cells in or around the breast directly

The surgeon will surgically remove the entire tumor and remove the axillary lymph nodes. Your doctor will discuss with you the best and most appropriate surgery for your situation based on your stage of disease, tumor size, age, living circumstances, and your wishes.

Conservative surgery

If the tumor is small, the doctor may remove only part of the breast with the tumor, called conservative surgery. With this surgery, several weeks later you will have additional radiation therapy to the breast.


For larger tumors, you may also have the entire breast removed, called a mastectomy. You can have your new breast reconstructed during an operation or some time after your first mastectomy by placing a silicone implant or part of your own tissue. After this surgery, you may or may not need radiation to the base of the chest wall, but you may need radiation therapy to the armpit if axillary lymph nodes have metastasized.

Whole body treatment

Systemic treatment to destroy cancer cells anywhere in the body that we do not recognize, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy and endocrine therapy, systemic treatment helps support for local treatment. Sometimes you get chemotherapy before surgery, which shrinks the tumor, making it easier for surgery to save most of the breast.

Multimodality therapy – combining multiple treatments is important at this stage. With stage 2 breast cancer, you need a combination of at least 2 or more treatments.<

Treatment of stage 2 cancer with drugs

Drug treatment depends on many factors such as: age and tumor test results such as hormone receptor and HER-2 receptor status. Based on that, the doctor will prescribe the following types


You may be treated before or after surgery. Chemotherapy drugs can be given by mouth in pill or liquid form, or as an injection under the skin, but most are administered intravenously. Chemotherapy drugs have many side effects, ranging from mild to severe, which can sometimes be serious. Therefore, you need to discuss with your doctor about the benefits as well as the discomforts and risks that you will experience during chemotherapy.

Endocrine therapy drugs

Postoperative endocrine therapy is used for hormone receptor-positive cancers. You will be taking drugs such as Tamoxifen, Aromatase inhibitors for up to 5 or 10 years. Side effects of hormonal drugs are less than chemotherapy, but there can still be some unwanted events, if you experience discomfort while taking hormonal drugs, you need to tell your doctor right away.

Biologics or targeted drugs

This is a new drug now. About 25% of women with breast cancer have an epigenetic increase in the HER2 protein in the tumor, which causes your tumor to grow and spread very quickly. Biologic drugs that inhibit this protein slow cancer cell growth and make chemotherapy drugs more effective, so they are often used in combination with chemotherapy.

The drugs currently on the market are: Ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), lapatinib (Tykerb), neratinib (Nerlynx), pertuzumab (Perjeta), and trastuzumab (Herceptin).

Clinical trial drugs

Some women with breast cancer are currently participating in clinical trials. These drugs are being tested in large groups of women with breast cancer who participate in research, the aim is to find new drugs, new methods or new combinations to help treat the disease more effectively and with fewer side effects. Although not officially recommended in the treatment guidelines around the world, you need to know that all the drugs you are used to treat today are derived from clinical trials in the past.

How long does stage 2 breast cancer live and what are the breast cancer symptoms?

Survival prognosis of breast cancer patients

How long you live with breast cancer depends on the stage of the disease, and your breast cancer symptoms. The prognosis of patients in major studies in the world is shown in the survival rate after a certain period of time. It can’t tell you exactly how many years to live with breast cancer or how long stage 2 breast cancer can live, especially for each individual patient. It only estimates your percentage of survival from diagnosis to a certain point, usually 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years.

Prognosis of survival by stage of disease

How long does stage 2 breast cancer live and what are the breast cancer symptoms? This depends on what stage of the disease you are in.

There are 3 different stage groups:

  • In situ stage: cancer is localized to only one breast.
  • Local stage: cancer cells have spread beyond the mammary gland to nearby areas and nearby lymph nodes.
  • Distant metastasis: Cancer has spread to other areas of the body, such as the lungs, liver, and bones.
  • Women with stage 2 breast cancer belong to the regional group. With this stage, the average 5-year survival rate is about 86%.

    These numbers are drawn from many large studies around the world. In fact, the survival rate is actually higher. As more and more treatment advances, treatment outcomes are increasing, while the group of patients in these studies were diagnosed and treated at least 5 years ago.

    Moreover, the survival prognosis of the disease at each stage depends on many other beneficial and unfavorable factors such as age, general health status, tumor histological grade, tumor response to treatment, the presence of endocrine receptors on the surface of cancer cells, HER2 status and some other factors.

    Prognosis of survival according to breast cancer

    Triple-negative breast cancer and inflammatory breast cancer also have very different prognoses.

    Triple-negative breast cancer

    This is a type of cancer in which tumor cells have no endocrine receptors and no HER2 epigenetic protein. This type of cancer is more common in women who are young or have mutations in the BRCA1 gene.

    This type tends to be aggressive, aggressive, and easy to recur after treatment, while treatments for this type of cancer are limited, so the prognosis is often worse. In studies, with stage 2 triple-negative breast cancer, the median 5-year survival was about 65%.

    Inflammatory breast cancer

    This is a rare form of breast cancer, it manifests as a red and swollen breast lump, which looks like an infected mammary gland. This breast cancer symptom actually is caused by cancer cells blocking the lymphatic vessels under the skin. You must see a doctor to be able to distinguish this form from a common mastitis.

    This type of cancer is also common in young people, overweight or obese women. It also progresses and spreads more rapidly than other breast cancers and therefore has a worse prognosis. So how long does stage 2 breast cancer live? In this case, the median 5-year survival rate is about 65%.

    What you need to do when facing breast cancer

    Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming for you. In the face of an overwhelming shock, you are faced with making important decisions about your treatment plan yourself.

    To overcome this difficult period, you need to talk with your doctor to thoroughly understand your condition about the type, stage and endocrine receptor expression of the tumor as well as the best treatment methods. Being well informed will help you feel more confident in your treatment decisions.<

    You also need to share with breast cancer patients in the same situation as you, share your feelings with friends and family, seek help and supportive care mentally and physically if needed and Try to connect emotionally with your partner as much as possible.

    Hopefully, through this article, you have had the answer to how many years to live with breast cancer, as well as better understand your disease condition to make the most appropriate treatment decision.

    Learn more about Breast Cancer here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Mar 18, 2023

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