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Breast Cancer Surgery and Stages

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Updated February 12, 2011

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Stage 3 (Stage III) Breast Cancer and Surgery Options

IIIA: There is no cancer in the breast but adjoining lymph nodes under the arm are cancerous, OR the cancer in the breast is 5cm or smaller in size and has spread to lymph nodes under the arm that are connected.

IIIB: Inflammatory breast cancer, an aggressive type of cancer, is present OR breast cancer is in breast and adjoining tissue such as skin or muscles around the breast and may also have spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.

IIIC: There is a tumor in the breast which has spread to 10 or more lymph nodes under the arm. Additional lymph nodes around the neck and collar area may be involved.

Stage III Breast Cancer and Surgery

Stage III breast cancer involves a mastectomy and lymph node removal as a standard of care. A combined approach of both chemotherapy and radiation is typically recommended after surgery. Endocrine and targeted/biologic therapies may also be options for treatment.
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