There’s Always Hope For Stage Three Breast Cancer Patients
Stage three breast cancer diagnoses can evoke a wide array of emotions ranging from anxiety and helplessness to fear, sadness, and anger. Although it can be difficult to sort through all of these emotions upon being diagnosed with it, it is imperative learn all that you can about your treatment options. For many women diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, this step can seem overwhelming and add a great deal of frustration to an already challenging situation. In addition to dealing with a life-altering event, you must also make a number of tough decisions that will determine the course of action you will take in fighting your cancer.
Stage three breast cancer (A, B, or C) is also called locally advanced cancer. This means that the tumor in the breast is larger than in stages one and two and that lymph nodes in the armpit or other areas around the breast are involved. Because breast cancer at stage three may affect everyone differently, finding a treatment plan that suits your unique needs is very important. Women who have this stage of breast cancer usually undergo local treatment to remove or destroy the cancer in the breast, and systemic treatment to lower the chances the disease will spread. The treatments involve a mastectomy and lymph node removal as a standard of care. Chemotherapy is recommended to all patients unless there is something that suggests that patients may not tolerate chemotherapy. Doctors usually ask patients 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. A combined approach of both chemotherapy and radiation is typically recommended after surgery. Hormonal drugs are invariable given if the tumor is hormone receptor positive unless the patient has some specific problem that would prevent its use. Endocrine and targeted or biologic therapies may also be options for treatment.
Receiving diagnosis of breast cancer on stage three is a serious situation, but you have options. Regardless of the alarm felt when receiving the diagnosis, it is important to look at the statistics from the past 10 years, which indicate quite clearly that the survival rate for women with breast cancer in this stage has risen by at least 50%. More than 2 millions breast cancer survivors can attest to that fact. So, there is always hope for those who diagnose with stage three breast cancer.