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Stage III B.C.

Sun Whitey
Posts: 36
Joined: Jan 2013

After my modified radical mastectomy last Tuesday, doctor classified my BC as Stage III.  They removed the axillary and sentinel nodes, and everything went well (I am not a fan of these drainage tubes for sure).  I didn't know there were different "types" of "Stage III" when it comes to BC.  Can anyone help me understand this?  I won't see the oncologist for at least 2 weeks.

Pink Rose
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2012

I am not a doctor, but, I just googled what are the different types of Stage 3 breast cancer and this is what the national breast cancer site had posted.  I am going to try and post the link for you too.  I believe that every Stage of breast cancer has different types.


What does it mean to have Stage 3 breast cancer?

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.

This stage is divided into three groups: Stage 3A, Stage 3B, and Stage 3C. The difference is determined by the size of the tumor and whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and surrounding tissue.


I am sure your own oncologist will be able to answer any questions you have.  I hope this helped some and good luck!

Hugs, Rose

Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

I was staged as IIIA.  That was based on what was on my left side, as I had infiltrating lobular carcinoma; on the right, ductal carcinoma in situ.  I went ahead and had both breasts removed because I did not want to mess with all of this more than I needed to.  What put me at Stage IIIA was the size of the tumor on the left and one affected lymphnode.  (I had not been careless about my annual exams, but I sometimes wonder why nothing was caught the year before -- although I have long been prone to cysts.)

The lab results meant that I needed to do more to prevent a reoccurrence.  So, I did chemo (8 total, every other week) and then radiation therapy (33 times, daily, M-F).   I finished the rads the end of September. 

I will tell you that what encouraged me is that the spread was not beyond the one lymph node (although the surgeon removed all of the ones on the left).  I think I would have been less optimistic if half or more had been affected.

My drains were removed about 9-10 days after my surgery.  I went in to the surgeon twice a week a few weeks for the surgeon to drain, as at that point, a needle was needed to draw it out.  (Painless because that area was -- still is -- numb.)   Soon I was down to weekly; not long after that, there would be a few weeks between -- part of the reason was that the surgeon was not just checking for fluuid, he was also checking to see how well I was progressing at being able to raise my arms . . . to look for signs of lymphedema . . . and just to be sure I was not showing signs of skin irritation (because I was numb). 

I hope that things progress well for you.  Sometimes what will be your best choices will not be your easiest choices; but you will get through it.  I am feeling very good.  My friends and colleagues at work tell me that did they not know what my life had been like from last February until the end of September, they would have no idea.  They have said that for months, now.  I say that to encourage you because the same can hold true for you.

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

I was diagnosed with Stage 3A too (large tumor, 4 nodes).  That was back in 1987.  Just celebrated my 26th year canniversary this February.  Hang in there!

Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

Thanks for posting this.  Even though it was posted several months ago, this is the time I needed to read that bit of reassurance you posted here.

Posts: 382
Joined: Nov 2012

Hi Susan,

I am glad your surgery is over.  I was no fan of those drains either, but the good news is that it didn't hurt when they came out. I was anticipating the worst and it was not bad at all.  I am sorry I cannot give you much info on the different types of Stage 3, but I do know there are wonderful women on this site that share your diagnosis.  I am sure you will get more answers when you see your oncologist, but until then just try and get your strength back.  I will tell you that I go to Curves five days a week with my aunt who was diagnosed 7 years ago with stage 3 BC and she is doing great.  She' s 65 and I'm 47 and she runs circles around me!  You can do this!

Hugs coming your way,


Posts: 1416
Joined: Mar 2001

Now staged differently since they know so much more than even 16 years ago.  Nothing about my cancer fit their criteria for staging or treatment.  Even found out Triple Negative a couple of years ago they still had tissue samples and retested after I had more trouble and very surprised for sure.  Because I was part of a study is why still had tissue and their finding were not great in my group of women but there are still those of us beat it inspite of statistics.  I had 11 out of 21 positive nodes so it had really spread and I was in bad shape at diagnosis and 36 at time.

They really didn't even think I could have cancer since so young and appeared to be in such good shape physically just 6 months prior to such a diagnosis and I knew something was terribly wrong before finding my first lump...

YOu have come to a great place where there are many listeners and that is a great help when you don't think you can share with anyone else especially those closest to you.  I found a place to lay my fears and do all they asked of me though I truly didn't want to.  I resigned and made it through as most say it was DOABLE I am still here...

Keepig you close at heart


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