Breast Cancer Stage 3 Treatment Options

Have breast cancer stage 3? What does it mean?

Breast cancer stage 3 describes the breast cancer has extend to the underarm lymph nodes and muscles but not spread to more distant sites in the body. This stage is divided into three groups, breast cancer stage 3A, 3B and 3C.

Breast cancer stage 3A

l No tumor is found in the breast but cancer cells have spread to the underarm lymph nodes that are attached to other structure or near the breast bone or

l The tumor is 2cm or smaller and the cancer cells have spread to the underarm lymph nodes that are attached to other structure or near the breast bone or

l The tumor is 2cm - 4cm and the cancer cells have spread to the underarm lymph nodes that are attached to other structure or near the breast bone or

l The tumor is larger than 5 cm and the cancer cells have spread to the underarm lymph nodes that are attached to other structure or near the breast bone.

Breast cancer stage 3B

The tumor may be any size and cancer cells have invaded to not only underarm lymph nodes but also the chest wall or breast skin. Cancer that has spread to the skin of the breast is inflammatory breast cancer.

Breast cancer stage 3C

The tumor may be any size and there may be no sign of cancer in the breast. Cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes above or below the collarbone. The cancer cells may have spread to the chest wall or the skin of the breast. If cancer cells have spread to the breast cancer, this is inflammatory breast cancer.

Breast cancer stage 3 may be operable or inoperable:

Inoperable stage 3C

Cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes above the collarbone

Operable stage 3C

Cancer cells are found in 10 or more underarm lymph nodes or are in lymph nodes below the collarbone or are in underarm lymph nodes and lymph nodes near the breast bone.

What treatment options do you have for breast cancer stage 3?

Though breast cancer stage 3 is considered to be advanced and stage 3C may be inoperable, there are a growing number of effective treatment options. Let us see what treatment you can attain at Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou.

Standard treatment

Surgery(modified radical mastectomy & breast reconstruction)

Open surgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer patients. Breast cancer stage 2 is the early stage cancer and open surgery can remove the tumor and have a good prognosis. However, the worst thing is a part of the breast or the entire breast also will be removed. In Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou, the surgeon removes the breast and carefully dissects the underarm lymph node but no muscles are removed from beneath the breast so that doctor can reconstruct the breast and keep an original shape as if it is not be removed. If you do not want to take open surgery, there are other options for the breast cancer treatment stage 3, see as followed.

Green chemotherapy

Green chemotherapy is a new type of chemotherapy which is different from the intravenous chemotherapy. Intravenous chemotherapy can cause the side effects. In accordance with human biological clock, anticancer drugs will be given when tumor cells are actively and believed to be most susceptible while normal cells inactive. In this way, minimal dose of medicine can achieve best effects with lowest side effects to the body.


Radiotherapy is usually combined with the surgery or chemotherapy or other treatments. It is given in various ways, including

From outside the body as external radiotherapy, using X-rays from linear accelerator machines, electrons, and more rarely other particles such as protons

From within the body as internal radiotherapy, by putting radioactive material in, or close to the tumor.

Radiotherapy can cause both acute and chronic side effects. Acute side effects occur during treatment, and chronic side effects occur months or even years after treatment ends, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, etc. The side effects that develop depend on the area of the body being treated, the dose given per day, the total dose given, the patient’s general medical condition, and other treatments given at the same time.

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy is to stop estrogen from affecting breast cancer cells. Some types of breast cancer are affected by hormones in the blood so the hormone therapy is suitable to some of the breast cancer patients. You need to know the type of breast cancer so that doctor knows if the hormone therapy works for you.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is to use drugs or other substances to precisely identify and attack cancer cells, which bring little damage to normal cells. In Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou, we provide gene targeted therapy, which targets the root of disease by correcting the abnormal gene. Targeted therapy brings no trauma to the body and lesser side effect to the patients.

Chinese medicine therapy

In Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou, doctor combines the Chinese medicine therapy with other treatments. Chinese medicine therapy effectively helps you prevent or alleviate the side effects, which may be caused by other treatments. Moreover, Chinese medicine therapy also helps you boost the immune system to prevent cancer recurrence.

Minimally invasive Treatment


Cryotherapy also called cryosurgery, Ar-he knife, is done by releasing Argon gas to lower the temperature and freeze the tumor and the surrounding tissue; then the He gas is released to thaw the frozen tumor thus destroying it in the process. You do not need to take open surgery for breast cancer stage 3 and cryotherapy can help you get the same effect as the surgery does at Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou.

Interventional therapy

Interventional therapy is done under the guidance of medical imaging equipment wherein the anti-cancer drugs are injected directly to the blood supplying artery of the tumor which effectively shrinks the tumor. Compared with the traditional chemotherapy, interventional therapy at Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou targets the tumor precisely and brings lesser side effects to the body; the drug concentration of anticancer drug inside the tumor is much higher than the conventional chemotherapy because it is directly infused into the tumor and so it brings better efficacy.

Microwave ablation (MWA)

In microwave ablation, a probe will be inserted into tumors, and micro electromagnetic waves will be released to destroy and ablate the cancerous tissues directly. Targeting clearly and affecting intensely on the tumor, MWA will produce obvious side effects to normal tissues.

Photodynamic therapy

The drug called photosensitizer or photosensitizing agent, will be infused to the body. And the drug will be absorbed mostly by cancer cells after 24 hours to 72 hours. The photosensitizer in the tumor absorbs the light and produces an active form of oxygen that can destroy nearby cancer cells. It well suits patients with advanced cancer or elderly patients and those with poor physical status.

Photon knife

Photon Knife uses the targeting information to focus precisely on the tumor, while avoiding the healthy surrounding tissue. This exact targeting makes it possible to use higher levels of radiation in treatment, which are more effective in shrinking and killing tumors in breast.


Nanoknife breaks the membrane of tumor cells with high voltage pulses so that the tumor in tumor is destroyed. It is not an open surgery but brings the same effect as surgery does with the advantages of smaller trauma, lesser side effects and quicker recovery.

5 year survival rate for breast cancer stage 3

According to American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for stage 3 is about 72%. If you find a suitable treatment, there is still a chance to be successfully treated at Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou. Thus, it is essentially important for you to make a right decision for breast cancer treatment according to your size of tumor, physical condition and willingness, etc.

If you want to know what treatment options are suitable for you, you are welcome to consult with us via online consultation or call at 63-02-8221222/63-922-8083333/63-915-4642818. We are here 24/7 to answer your questions.

*Surgery, in addition to the appropriate chemotherapy and radiotherapy, are effective in treating early cancer, but certain patients in late stage of cancer may not be tolerate surgery well as they can be relatively weak. A combination of carefully planned minimally invasive therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy can effectively reduce the side effects and discomfort of treatment and may help patient get better efficacy.

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