Stage 3 breast cancer is more advanced than stage 2 but is not considered metastatic. With stage 3, cancer has not spread from the breast to organs or other distant sites in the body. Instead, cancer cells are constrained to nearby axillary underarm lymph nodes or those beneath your sternum breastbone or clavicle collarbone. A stage 3 breast tumor can range in size from less than 2 centimeters to over 5 centimeters, but there are cases in which no tumor is found in breast tissue. This stage of cancer is not strictly defined by the presence of a tumor but rather the degree of its invasiveness.
An Overview of Stage 3 Breast Cancer
Stage 4 breast cancer symptoms and prognosis
Numbers or letters after T, N, and M provide more details about each of these factors. Higher numbers mean the cancer is more advanced. T followed by a number from 0 to 4 describes the main primary tumor's size and if it has spread to the skin or to the chest wall under the breast. This includes inflammatory breast cancer. N followed by a number from 0 to 3 indicates whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the breast and, if so, how many lymph nodes are involved. Lymph node staging for breast cancer is based on how the nodes look under the microscope, and has changed as technology has improved. Newer methods have made it possible to find smaller and smaller collections of cancer cells, but experts haven't been sure how much these tiny deposits of cancer cells affect outlook.
Survival Rates for Breast Cancer
Survival depends on many different factors. It depends on your:. These are general statistics based on large groups of patients.
Breast cancer is defined as Stage 1 when it's evident but confined solely to the area where abnormal cell division began—in other words, it's growing but hasn't spread. Stage 1 cancer is subdivided into Stages 1A and 1B. When detected at this early stage, treatment is usually very effective and the prognosis for is good.