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Types & Stages

 
Types & Stages

Chapter: 5 - Types & Stages

Subchapter: 4 - Stage 3

Stage 3 invasive breast cancer includes various types of cancer. It is primarily based on the location and number of lymph nodes to which the cancer has spread, but it can also depend on the size of the tumor and if the chest wall or skin have been affected.

Stage 3A

Stage 3A is when the tumor is less than 2cm (0.8in) and the cancer has spread to connecting axillary (underarm) lymph nodes or lymph nodes near the breastbone. Stage 3A can also mean that the tumor is larger than 5cm (2in) and the cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that may be connected or lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Stage 3B

At Stage 3B the tumor can be any size and the cancer has either spread to the chest wall and/or the skin of the breast or to connecting axillary (underarm) lymph nodes or lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Stage 3C

In Stage 3C the tumor may be any size and is affecting the chest wall and/or skin of the breast. It has also spread to the lymph nodes near the collarbone.

Stage 3C breast cancer is divided into two types: operable and inoperable. Operable Stage 3C means that cancer has spread to ten or more axillary lymph nodes or that it has been found in lymph nodes below the collarbone. Cancer is considered inoperable Stage 3C when it has spread to lymph nodes above the collarbone.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    I am a one year survivor this month. I started out stage 1 and ended up stage4 because a "tiny" spot was found on my sternum, which is now gone due to radiation. What I don't completely understand is why didn't I have chemo?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      That is a good question for your treating physician. Every situation is different, and therefore should be treated differently. I went to a conference earlier this year and the doctor on the panel suggested that it is almost impossible to even measure treatment data in regards to cancer. He...

      more

      That is a good question for your treating physician. Every situation is different, and therefore should be treated differently. I went to a conference earlier this year and the doctor on the panel suggested that it is almost impossible to even measure treatment data in regards to cancer. He said we should record data in narrative form when talking about cancer, instead of numbers and facts. This is because cancer is a disease of abnormality in an individual. That abnormality can manifest itself in a number of different ways, and therefore, it requires a unique and individual approach to its treatment. I know this is a long answer, but I hope it helps you open up a dialogue with you and your doctor. They can probably better explain why your treatment journey was different and address your concerns about chemo. I really hope this helps!

      1 comment
  • meg wallace Profile

    What are the recurrence rates for stage 1 breast cancer (treatment with partial mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation)?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 1 answer
    • Kaz Aki Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Everyone is different, everyone's cancer is different.

      Doctors tell me that my stage 1 high grade invasive ductal carcinoma with lumpectomy chemo radiation has an extremely high CURE rate, meaning I will die from some other issue when I am good and really really old, but not from this...

      more

      Everyone is different, everyone's cancer is different.

      Doctors tell me that my stage 1 high grade invasive ductal carcinoma with lumpectomy chemo radiation has an extremely high CURE rate, meaning I will die from some other issue when I am good and really really old, but not from this breast cancer. That does not mean, however, that I won't get a new and different cancer at some point in my life.

      Comment
  • Tracy Lewis Norman Profile

    What is the difference between the grades and stages of breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Tracy,
      Arrrgh... by the time you have completed your treatment, you will be an expert! So sorry it has to be an expert in breast cancer treatment. Have you heard what type of breast cancer you have yet? As several have said.... Stage is the size of the tumor and how much it has spread. My...

      more

      Tracy,
      Arrrgh... by the time you have completed your treatment, you will be an expert! So sorry it has to be an expert in breast cancer treatment. Have you heard what type of breast cancer you have yet? As several have said.... Stage is the size of the tumor and how much it has spread. My stage was was a 2B..... (a 2.3cm with 1 positive lymph node.) The grade is how agressive the cells are.... grade 1-relatively non-agressive, grade 2 - middle of the road. grade 3 more aggressive cells. Within the grade, there can be varying degrees of aggressiveness. You will also have a report on your cancer's sensitivety to hormones. It will be ER+ or - PR + or - and HER2 + or -
      Breast cancer is very individual to each person. You can have the same type of breast cancer as the next woman and that is where the similarities end. Your cells are unique to you. Your treatment will be developed because of the cells seen at your biopsy. You will wonder why your treatment is different from mine but it is because our breast cancer may be completely different on a cell level. It's confusing for sure. Each woman reaction to their treatments are all different too. Just as Jo says... bring every single itty bitty question to your interview. Best too, if you bring a friend who can either take really great notes or bring some kind of recorder with you. You are given a lot of information and you won't necessarily remember it all. We are always here for you as you go through your treatment. Hang in there.... there's a wonderful bunch of "sister's" out here to help. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Tracy Lewis Norman Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      i have grade 3 breast cancer but i dont understand that, im scared it is growing everywhere else. what does that mean?

      11 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Are you able to use your arm normally after an auxillary node dissection? Does it affect day to day life?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Jayme, I had a lot of limited mobility in my right arm. I tried doing exercises at home to improve this but in the end I decided to go to a Physical Therapist. I've been seeing her for 2 months now and she has helped my tremendously!!! Before..I couldn't take my shirt off by myself. But now, I...

      more

      Hi Jayme, I had a lot of limited mobility in my right arm. I tried doing exercises at home to improve this but in the end I decided to go to a Physical Therapist. I've been seeing her for 2 months now and she has helped my tremendously!!! Before..I couldn't take my shirt off by myself. But now, I can...plus reach places I couldn't before. if you decide to go to one....I highly suggest someone that is experienced with working with women who've had mastectomies and specialize in soft tissue massage as well. She not only makes me do exercises.....she begins with doing massage in my restricted area. It's been a life saver for me since I'll be going back to work on the 4th of June. Hugs Jayme.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had an auxiliary node dissection about 2 months ago. I was told to gradually stretch my arm with wall walks and not to lift anything over 10 pounds. Now I have pretty good mobility, but was told by a PT to stretch my arm more before I have radiation therapy (I'm in chemo therapy now). I do have...

      more

      I had an auxiliary node dissection about 2 months ago. I was told to gradually stretch my arm with wall walks and not to lift anything over 10 pounds. Now I have pretty good mobility, but was told by a PT to stretch my arm more before I have radiation therapy (I'm in chemo therapy now). I do have numbness in my armpit and back of my arm & am at risk for infection because of the lymph node removal & shouldn't have my blood pressure or blood drawn on that side forever. Hope this helps.

      1 comment

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