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What Is Stage III Aggressive Breast Cancer?

Updated February 21, 2017

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women after skin cancer, according to the CDC. Cancer is staged due to its size and spread, with Stage III breast cancer considered to be an aggressive type of cancer likely to do harm, reports Net Doctor.

Invasive

Stage III breast cancer is considered to be invasive, meaning that the cancerous cells are affecting surrounded tissues in the breast. This makes the cancer more dangerous as it can spread to distant areas, according to BreastCancer.org.

Types

There are three grades of Stage III breast cancer--grades A, B and C. The grade depends on the size, lymphatic involvement and spread of the cancer, per the American Cancer Society.

Location

For Stages IIIB or IIIC of aggressive breast cancer, the tumour has grown into the wall of your chest. In Stage IIIA, the cancer is still contained within the breast.

Spread

In order to qualify as Stage III, breast cancer cells cannot have spread to any distant sites; however, the cancer can have spread to the lymph nodes. Tumours that involve less than nine lymph nodes often are termed Stages IIIA or IIIB, with more lymph node involvement signalling classification of Stage IIIC.

Size

Breast cancers that are less than five centimetres in width and have spread to four to nine lymph nodes are generally classified as Stage IIIA, per the American Cancer Society. If tumours have grown into the chest wall or involve more lymph nodes, Stage III classification is given to tumours of any size provided the cancer has not spread to any distant location.

Prognosis

According to the American Cancer Society, 57 per cent of women with Stage III breast cancer survive five years after diagnosis.

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About the Author

Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.