Stage 3 Breast Cancer Definition

Dr. Jay Harness explains what stage 3 breast cancer is and what patients can expect when diagnosed with a stage 3 breast cancer.

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Jay K. Harness, MD: Stage 3 breast cancer.  Another definition of stage 3 breast cancer is locally advanced breast cancers.  These are typically large tumors with lymph node positivity.  So in the tumor lymph node staging system, this is often T3 meaning greater than 5 cm in size and certainly at a minimum N1 meaning at least one lymph node that is positive.  Another possibility to become stage 3 is to have multiple lymph nodes involved which means four or more lymph nodes involved.  So stage 3 breast cancer by definition requires multimodality treatment.  So the batting order of the treatments can certainly vary, but often it is chemotherapy first, followed then by some type of surgery, followed then by radiation therapy, followed if somebody is estrogen receptor positive by anti-hormonal therapy.  It is a real step-up in the staging of breast cancer.  It requires multimodality treatment and it is very treatable.

Dr. Jay K. Harness is a board certified surgeon currently treating patients at St. Joesph Hospital in Orange, CA. Dr. Harness specializes in complete breast health, breast cancer surgery, oncoplastic reconstruction, genetic screening, management of breast health issues, risk assessment and counseling. Dr. Harness is the medical director for Breast Cancer, and guides this first ever social media show’s information by drawing on his former leadership experience as the President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1969 and spent time early on in his career at the University of Michigan Medical Center.
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