Stage 3 Breast Cancer

Stage 3 Breast Cancer Subgroups

Stage 3 is divided into 3 subgroups marked by differences in size of tumor and whether cancer cells are in the lymph nodes & surrounding areas, but have not spread to other parts of the body.

Stage 3A (IIIA): Breast Cancer is Stage 3A if either of these criteria are met:

  • - the tumor is more than 5cm wide, there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes which may clump together and the cancer has not spread elsewhere in the body
  • - the tumor is less than 5 cm wide, lymph nodes contain cancer cells which clump together and the cancer has not spread elsewhere in the body
  • - there are no tumors in the breast, the lymph nodes contain cancer cells which are stuck to each other and the cancer has not spread elsewhere in the body

Stage 3B (IIIB): Breast Cancer is Stage 3B if:

  • - the tumor of any size has spread to the chest and/or skin of the breast
  • &
  • - cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes and are clumped together or sticking to other structures
  • or
  • - cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Stage 3C (IIIC): Breast Cancer is Stage 3C if:

  • - the tumor of any size, has spread to lymph nodes under the arms & breast bone, or spread to lymph nodes below or above the collar bone line
  • &
  • - the tumor or cancer cells have not spread to any other parts of the body

Stage 3 Treatment

Stage 3 breast cancer treatment may include radation therapy or chemotherapy.

Stage 3 Survival Rates

Stage 3 breast cancer is marked by more tumor development which spreads to the chest or skin of the breast.

As the cancer has begun to spread, survival rates are lower than Stage 1 or Stage 2 breast cancer at around 54%-67% five years after diagnosis and treatment. (source: American Cancer Society).