Stage 3 cancer means the breast cancer has extended to beyond the immediate region of the tumor and may have invaded nearby lymph nodes and muscles, but has not spread to distant organs. Although this stage is considered to be advanced, there are a growing number of effective treatment options. The difference is determined by the size of the tumor and whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and surrounding tissue. No actual tumor is associated with the cancerous cells or the tumor may be any size, AND the nearby lymph nodes 4 or more nodes with as many as 9 affected contain cancer. The tumor is larger than the approximate size of a small lime more than 5 centimeters , AND small clusters of breast cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes between the approximate size of a pinprick and the width of a grain of rice. The tumor is larger than the approximate size of a small lime over 5 centimeters , AND the cancer has spread to 1, 2, or 3 lymph nodes under the arm or near the breastbone.
It is fairly common for people to be diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Stage 2 tumors are usually between 2 and 5 centimeters cm in diameter 1 to 2. Treatment usually includes surgery either a lumpectomy or mastectomy , and adjuvant chemotherapy is often recommended. Radiation therapy is given following a lumpectomy, but may or may not be needed after a mastectomy. If the tumor is estrogen receptor-positive, hormonal therapy is usually given for five to 10 years, and for those who are postmenopausal, bisphosphonate therapy may be recommended as well to reduce the risk of recurrence. If the cancer is HER2-positive, targeted therapy is often used after primary treatment. Stage 2 breast cancer is considered "invasive," meaning that cancer cells have broken out of the ducts or lobules of the breast.
A variety of treatments for breast cancer exist, and treatment is available at every stage of cancer. Most people need a combination of two or more treatments. After diagnosis, your doctor will determine the stage of your cancer.
Chemotherapy for breast cancer uses drugs to target and destroy breast cancer cells. These drugs are usually given directly into a vein through a needle or as a pill. Chemotherapy for breast cancer frequently is used in addition to other treatments, such as surgery, radiation or hormone therapy. Receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer may increase the chance of a cure, decrease the risk of the cancer returning, alleviate symptoms from the cancer or help people with cancer live longer with a better quality of life.