Stage III



Stage III breast cancer has spread beyond the immediate region of the tumor and may have invaded nearby lymph nodes and muscles, but has not yet reached distant organs. Stage III breast cancer is an advanced stage of the disease, however treatment options are still available, which often include treatment with chemo before surgery. Stage III is divided into subcategories known as IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC.


Invasive breast cancer in which:

stage 3a1

stage 3a2

stage 3a3STAGE IIIB

Invasive breast cancer in which:

stage 3bSTAGE IIIC

Invasive breast cancer in which

 stage 3c


Surgery is standard for stage III breast cancer. The treatment for stage IIIA is similar to that in Stage II. It might be possible to treat smaller tumors with lumpectomy plus radiation, while larger tumors will require total mastectomy plus radiation. Treatment to the lymph nodes might include lymph node removal, and possible radiation to supra clavicular and/or internal mammary lymph nodes. Additional treatments often include chemotherapy (almost always recommended), hormone therapy, biological therapy, or targeted therapy.

For stage IIIB, chemotherapy is often used before surgery to shrink tumor and/or lymph nodes. Then a total mastectomy will be performed, that may require removal of other nearby tissues involved with the tumor. Radiation will be required after surgery. Treatment to the lymph nodes and additional treatments are the same as for stage IIIA above.

Stage IIIC can be operable or inoperable. Treatment is the same as IIIB, however in inoperable cases only the radiation and therapies would be used.


  •   Invasive
  •   No tumor, or tumor of any size
  •   4-9 lymph nodes, or more than 10
  •   Spread to lymph nodes or nearby muscle, but not to distant organs


Click on the links below to learn more about each breast cancer stage.

Stage 0
Stage I
Stage II
Stage III
Stage IV


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