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Treatment of Stage III Breast Cancer
Small size stage IIIA breast cancer:
In stage III breast cancer, if the tumor size is small the surgical treatment option may be lumpectomy followed by radiation similar to stage II breast cancer. Modified radical mastectomy is another option. A breast reconstruction surgery may be done at the time of surgery or may be delayed for several weeks. Surgery is usually followed by chemotherapy. Hormonal therapy is recommended if the tumor is hormone receptor positive. Radiation therapy is offered after lumpectomy, however if the choice of surgery was modified radical mastectomy, radiation therapy is not generally recommended unless there are some other bad features like more than 3 positive lymph nodes involved with cancer, or a close margin on the mastectomy specimen.
Large size stage IIIA, IIIB and IIIC
Large size IIIA breast cancer as well as stage IIIB and IIIC cancers may be treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy with an idea to decrease the size of the tumor prior to surgery. After completion of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, a modified radical mastectomy is usually undertaken. As in the case of earlier stages of breast cancer, reconstruction surgery may be done during breast cancer surgery or several weeks after completion of surgery. In few patients, who had marked reduction in the tumor size, a lumpectomy may be an option. Your physician will usually ask you to come back for more chemotherapy after surgical wounds are healed. Most patients will get radiation therapy, after completion of chemotherapy even if the surgical procedure was lumpectomy. Hormonal drugs are invariable given if the tumor is hormone receptor positive unless the patient has some specific problem that would prevent its use.
Breast cancer resources