Stage 3 Breast Cancer

Stage 3 breast cancer: Survival rate, symptoms, treatment, prognosis. Stage 3 breast cancer is diagnosed after cancer has spread to multiple lymph nodes nearby. A tumor that has grown to a size of more than 5 centimetres (cm) and has spread to any lymph nodes but not to distant organs is referred to as stage 3.

Stage 3 breast cancer: Survival rate, symptoms, treatment, prognosis
Stage 3 breast cancer: Survival rate, symptoms, treatment, prognosis

It might be upsetting to be diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, but life expectancy and treatment options are improving.

In this article, we discuss stage 3 breast cancer survival rates, treatment options, remission, and techniques to cope with the diagnosis.

Beyond the stage of cancer, there are a number of other factors that determine a person’s life expectancy.

In some cases, measuring life expectancy is based on how big the tumor is and how far the cancer cells have spread. Towards the end of the twentieth century, advances in tumor biology changed life expectancy calculations.

Breast cancer in stage 3 is an advanced form of the disease, however, it has not spread beyond the breast. This stage of the disease does not indicate that cancer has spread to other organs or parts of the body.

There could be several lymph nodes above or below the collarbone, as well as near the breastbone, where the tumor may have spread. Cancer could also be inflamed. There are various substages of stage 3 breast cancer, and understanding the differences is essential if one wants to guide treatment and prognosis appropriately.

Survival rate: Stage 3 Breast Cancer

Based on data collected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), women diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer have a five-year survival rate of 86 percent.

When a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, a 5-year survival rate compares that person’s chances of surviving 5 years after that diagnosis with someone who does not have the disease.

SEER Program phases are commonly used by physicians to measure survival rates through surveillance, epidemiology, and end results. In addition to determining the appropriate treatment and predicting a person’s prognosis based on the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis, physicians also use this information for determining the patient’s prognosis.

It is important to note that survival rates vary from person to person, and these stages do not take into account most of the variables influencing a person’s case of breast cancer.


It is possible that a tumor in stage 3C will be any size or that it may not be present at all. Nevertheless, some cancers have moved from the surface of the breast to the chest wall, causing swelling or an ulcer. There are also at least ten lymph nodes in the armpit, indicating that the cancer has spread to one or more of these structures.

  • A lymph node count of at least 10 in the armpit
  • Involving a lymph node above or below the collarbone 
  • As well as lymph nodes in the armpit and close to the breast


Inoperable stage 3C breast cancer and operable stage 3C breast cancer is both stage 3C breast cancers. Despite their similar meanings, the words “inoperable” and “untreatable” are not synonymous.

Inoperable may simply mean that your doctor does not believe a simple operation would be able to completely remove all of the breast cancer and the surrounding tissue at this time. It is important that all the edges of the breast have healthy tissue when it is removed. Take into consideration that the breast tissue extends beyond the breast mound, on up to the clavicle, and on down to several inches below it. Ensure that there is sufficient tissue available to close the chest wound after surgery.

Treatment options at stage 3 include mastectomy, radiation, and hormone therapy as local treatment options and chemotherapy as a systemic treatment. A treatment protocol that includes two or more therapies is beneficial to almost everyone with a Stage 3 diagnosis.

It is always recommended to apply chemotherapy first, which is intended to shrink the breast cancer, including the lymph nodes that have been affected. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is the term used to describe this type of treatment.

When diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, you will most likely undergo surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. 

Depending on the kind of cancer you have, you’ll have to take different medications. In the case of HER2-positive tumors, for example, Herceptin (trastuzumab) will also be administered. It is almost certain that hormone therapy will be continued for a minimum of five years following the initial treatment if the tumor is hormone-sensitive (meaning oestrogen and/or progesterone can influence tumour growth).


Those with no skin or muscle penetration can undergo a lumpectomy to remove smaller tumors. A sentinel node biopsy will be necessary for women with cancer that has spread outside their breasts. 

In the case of larger tumors, such as ones that have spread to the chest wall, a mastectomy will also be required, as well as a nodal biopsy. Radiation therapy can sometimes delay breast reconstruction, which is sometimes necessary due to its effects.


Cancer cells left behind after surgery are usually hunted down with chemotherapy, lowering the risk of recurrence in stage 3. In addition to reducing tumors before surgery, chemotherapy can be used to remove as much of the cancer tissue as possible.

Chemotherapy administered after surgery is referred to as adjuvant chemotherapy. When cancer is treated with chemotherapy before surgery, we call it neoadjuvant.

Skin-related cancers are referred to as inflammatory breast cancers. These cancers commonly cause swollen, redbreasts. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is usually the first step in treating this less common and aggressive cancer type. This method can be used not only to reduce the size of the tumor but can also kill cancer cells in the surrounding areas, making it easier to remove the tumor and avoiding the need for additional surgery.

The treatment for inflammatory breast cancer almost always involves the removal of axillary lymph nodes (dissection) as well as a mastectomy.


Immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that involves taking steroids to help the immune system recognize and eliminate cancer cells in the body. Specific proteins in the immune system are usually targeted by these medications to increase immune response.

The drugs target proteins in breast cancer cells that must be “switched on” and “switched off.” Those proteins are used by the cancer cells to avoid detection by the immune system. By blocking this process, immunotherapy medications allow the immune system to respond to cancer cells.

Targeted therapy

The proteins on the surface of cancer cells can affect their growth, division, and dissemination, and targeted medicines target those proteins. To determine if your tumor has targets that can be targeted by these medications, it might be necessary to examine it. Among the ways that targeted therapies can assist in curing cancer are:

  • Assisting with the destruction of malignant cells by the immune system
  • Defending against tumor development by keeping blood vessels from forming and thus 
  • Starving tumors
  • By causing cancer cells to die
  • Blocking hormones that promote cancer


Depending on the substage and other factors, such as an individual’s age and HER2 status, a woman’s chance of survival can differ.

Surviving statistics are often divided into categories based on whether the cancer is localised, regional, or distant. Cancer in stage 3 is classified as regional disease, meaning it has spread to the lymph nodes in the region. 

Regional breast cancer has a relative five-year survival rate of 85.8%, which means 85.8% of people who have been diagnosed with it are still alive after five years. In order to understand the purpose of survival statistics, you have to understand that they are only statistics. Statistics are merely snapshots of a greater picture since every individual is different.

Depending on your particular circumstances, your doctor will discuss your prognosis with you. A number of factors can influence your cancer treatment, including your overall health and age.

The survival rate for five years may be significantly different than it is now with the advent of more effective and new medicines each year.

Bottom line

Breast cancer at stage 3 is currently exhibiting a favorable prognosis and survival rates that are steadily improving. For stage 3 breast cancer, women have an 86 percent five-year survival rate, whereas men have an 83 percent five-year survival rate.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, a person’s life expectancy may be affected by several factors. If you would like a more specific advice from a doctor, ask your doctor.

Read also: Stage 2 Breast Cancer ; Breast Cancer Symptoms; Stage 1 Breast Cancer; Stage Zero Breast Cancer-0

External resources: national Breast cancer ; stage 4 breast cancer

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