Stage 3 Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 26 March 2021

Stage 3 Breast Cancer Treatment Options

The disease has spread beyond the breast to the chest wall or skin over the breast, as well as to area lymph nodes, in stage 3 breast cancer. The disease has progressed outside the breast and into adjacent lymph nodes in stage 3. Many lymph nodes usually contain cancer cells, or the tumour is so big that it spreads into the chest wall or breast tissue. Sometimes, a mixture of medications is the most effective.


Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a standard procedure for breast cancer that has advanced to stage III. Chemotherapy is often used prior to surgery to shrink a tumour and make it easier to extract. It may aid in the destruction of cancer cells that have survived surgery. Chemotherapy could be the primary treatment choice if surgery is not an option.

Chemotherapy may be administered in a variety of forms. You can take pills or drink liquids, but most medications are inserted directly into the bloodstream. Depending on the type of treatment, it can be administered in stages to enable the body time to recover.

Surgery: A lumpectomy is a procedure in which the tumour and any underlying tissue are removed from the breast by a surgeon. You can also include a mastectomy, which involves the removal of the whole breast. Lymph nodes will now be removed by the surgeon. You can opt to get breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy.

Radiation therapy: Following treatment, radiation therapy is often prescribed for women with stage 3 breast cancer. The drug has the potential to destroy cancer cells that were previously undetected.

Hormone therapy: Hormone treatment may benefit women with cancers who are hormone receptor sensitive. This suggests that the cancer needs hormones to thrive. Medications may keep the tumour from accessing the hormone in these women. Tamoxifen is used for all women, whereas aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), and letrozole (Femara) are used by postmenopausal women. Women with metastatic breast cancer can be offered fulvestrant (Faslodex) or toremifene (Fareston), which block hormone receptors.

Women who haven’t achieved menopause may wish to have their ovaries removed in order to prevent them from producing hormones that encourage cancer growth. Medications can also inhibit the release of hormones by the ovaries.

Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is a more recent therapeutic option. Around 20% of women with breast cancer have an excess of a protein called HER2, which causes the cancer to spread rapidly. Ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki (Enhertu), lapatinib (Tykerb), margetuximab (Margenza), neratinib (Nerlynx), pertuzumab (Perjeta), or trastuzumab (Trastuzumab) may be administered to (Herceptin). In postmenopausal women with some cases of advanced breast cancer, a CDK 4/6 receptor such as abemaciclib (Verzenio), palbociclib (Ibrance), or ribociclb (Kisqali) is also used. These medicines will avoid this protein from causing cancer to spread, enabling chemotherapy to be more successful. Those with HER2-negative yet BRCA-mutated breast cancer can benefit from a class of drugs known as PARP inhibitors, which target a protein that aids cancer cell growth. Olaparib (Lynparza) and talazoparib are PARP inhibitors (Talzenna). Everolimus (Afinitor) is a targeted treatment that is often used in conjunction with the hormone therapy exemestane to treat patients with HER2-negative breast cancer (Aromasin).

The new PIK3 inhibitor alpelisib (Piqray) may be used in conjunction with fulvestrant to treat patients who are HER2-negative but have PIK3CA-mutated advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy medications activate the immune system, allowing it to search out and kill cancer cells. The immunotherapy medication atezolizumab (Tecentriq) is also offered in conjunction with the chemotherapy paclitzxel to women with advanced hormone receptor negative and HER2-negative breast cancer (Abraxane). Atezolizumab inhibits the enzyme PD-L1.

Clinical trials: Another factor to think of is clinical research. Many women with stage 3 breast cancer are qualified, and they can provide you with access to cutting-edge therapies. For more details on entering one, speak with your doctor.


Referenced on 25.3.2021

  1. American Cancer Society: “Learn about Cancer: Breast Cancer."
  2. National Cancer Institute: “Breast Cancer."
  3. CDC: “Breast Cancer."
  4. “Breast Cancer Stages,” “IDC Type: Cribriform Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Medullary Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Mucinous Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Papillary Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast,” “Male Breast Cancer,” “Metastatic Breast Cancer,” “Molecular Subtypes of Breast Cancer,” “Phyllodes Tumors of the Breast,” “U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics”
  5. Cleveland Clinic: “Breast Cancer.”
  6. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners: “Breast Cancer Subtypes.”
  7. CDC: “Breast Cancer: How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?”
  8. American Cancer Society: “What Is Breast Cancer?”
  9. Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology: “Breast Cancer,” “Breast Cancer In-Situ.”
  10. National Cancer Institute: “Cancer Stat Facts: Female Breast Cancer.”
  11. Mayo Clinic: “Breast cancer.”

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