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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

  • kim sosa Profile

    I was diagnosed stage 2 possible stage 3A because of lymp node involvement. My doctor said I should live a full life but reading things on the internet tell me otherwise. Any reassurance will help.

    Asked by anonymous

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

      Oh Darlin!
      DO NOT READ THOSE HORROR STORIES! There are many, many, more successful outcomes than awful ones. Your eyes are going to be drawn to the horrible and it won't do you a bit of good except to depress you. "Been there.... done that." I would trust what your doctor says and put on...

      more

      Oh Darlin!
      DO NOT READ THOSE HORROR STORIES! There are many, many, more successful outcomes than awful ones. Your eyes are going to be drawn to the horrible and it won't do you a bit of good except to depress you. "Been there.... done that." I would trust what your doctor says and put on your big girl pink warrior panties and slap breast cancer in it's sassy face! You are always going to find the most horrendous stories and the most depressing statistics. You are not a statistic, you are a woman who was found to have breast cancer! Big deal.... HA! I also had breast cancer with node involvment, I am in my 5th year and just saw my oncologist last Wednesday. We "high-fived" each other in celebration of another clean check-up. He told me I was doing great and told me not to worry. PLEASE....Kim, your glass is really --half-full-- and heading for all the way full. You will get through your treatment and be ok. You have a bunch of women out there who are alive today because we have received great treatment and have the support of other women who have been treated before us. HANG IN THERE, GIRL! Healing hugs and courage. Do NOT listen to negative stories... there are many more positive ones out there. God's blessings, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Kim, the ladies are right. Don't back attention to the stats online. For one thing....they're not up to date. And another...every woman is different. Only God knows when our time is up. No one else. I was stage 3C when I began my treatment last May. When they went in to do my bilateral mastectomy...

      more

      Kim, the ladies are right. Don't back attention to the stats online. For one thing....they're not up to date. And another...every woman is different. Only God knows when our time is up. No one else. I was stage 3C when I began my treatment last May. When they went in to do my bilateral mastectomy I had 13 positive lymph nodes. In three of the lymph nodes...the cancer had broken outside the node. It had also spread to my chest wall. After almost a year of treatment...I'm cancer free!!! Take a look at my bio if you'd like. Replace that internet search for survival stats with "uplifting survivor stories"!!!! You can do this Kim!! Lots of hugs, Diana

      Comment
  • Edward Smith Profile

    At my post mastectomy consultation, what can I expect? I am stage 1 with no residual tissue and nodes are clean.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Betsy Krueger Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I also had my staples taken out at that point. I was amazed that it didn't hurt! Of course there's numbness at the mastectomy site, but this was the first time I realized what that meant. The numbness around the scar is still there, but the area where I have no feeling is smaller.

      This was...

      more

      I also had my staples taken out at that point. I was amazed that it didn't hurt! Of course there's numbness at the mastectomy site, but this was the first time I realized what that meant. The numbness around the scar is still there, but the area where I have no feeling is smaller.

      This was also the point at which I was handed off to the oncologist to discuss treatment--chemo, radiation. My cancer is DCIS, and I didn't have to have any more treatment. My DCIS had wide margins, and no node involvement.

      Hope it went well for you.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      You may get some further pathology results and the surgeon will check the mastectomy site. Depending on what sort of reconstruction you are having, if any, this will be discussed as well. Good luck

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have Stage 1 triple negative breast cancer. I have had my lifetime dose of adriamycin and was put on a regimen of Cytoxin and Taxotere. I had a moderately severe reaction to these drugs in my second treatment. What do I do next?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Sorry to hear about your reaction. When I was on the "cocktail" of Taxotere. My Onc prescribed steroid pills to take the night before and the morning of my chemo. Then of course....steroids and Benadryl via IV. She told me this was due to so many women having a reaction to the Taxotere. Was this...

      more

      Sorry to hear about your reaction. When I was on the "cocktail" of Taxotere. My Onc prescribed steroid pills to take the night before and the morning of my chemo. Then of course....steroids and Benadryl via IV. She told me this was due to so many women having a reaction to the Taxotere. Was this done by your Onc? If you are not able to tolerate those two drugs...not to worry. There are more chemo drugs used. I completed my rounds of Adriamycin, Cytoxin, and Taxotere and then had my surgery. Afterwards due to extensive lymph node involvement I am on chemo again using the drugs Carboplatin and Gemcitabine. These two chemo drugs are used for later stages of breast cancer as well as lung and ovaian cancer. Talk to your Onc about your different options. Best wishes and prayers to you in your fight!

      Comment
    • Lori S Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am stage 1 and will soon be on cytoxin and taxotere as well. What kind of reaction did you have? Did you lose any hair or has it thinned?

      2 comments
  • Cindy Morgan Cochran Profile

    Is stage 4 considered really bad?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Hi Cindy,

      All cancers are staged. The Stages are 1 through 4, with 4 being the most involved. The treatment for Stage 4 is complex and can last a lot longer than treatment for Stages 1 through 3.

      You don't indicate whether you are the patient. It doesn't matter. The first thing I tell...

      more

      Hi Cindy,

      All cancers are staged. The Stages are 1 through 4, with 4 being the most involved. The treatment for Stage 4 is complex and can last a lot longer than treatment for Stages 1 through 3.

      You don't indicate whether you are the patient. It doesn't matter. The first thing I tell anyone who is diagnosed with cancer is, don't go to the internet. There is a lot of misinformation out there and you want to get a true, accurate diagnosis, treatment plan, and if you want, a prognosis. The best person to do that is your doctor.

      With Stage 4 cancer, you might want to seriously consider getting additional opinion(s). There are a number of hospitals in the U.S. that are considered "the best" for cancer treatment. Two of them are M.D. Anderson in Houston, and Sloan Kettering in New York.
      Your doctor should be able to recommend physicians at those hospitals if you want a second opinion.

      Yes, Stage 4 is very serious. I hope that others who are or have been Stage 4 patients will chime in here and tell you their experience(s). If you are the patient, best of luck to you.

      Comment
    • julie s Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I have a friend who was stage 4 ( mets in her lung) and she is 7 years cancer free!

      Comment

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