Locally advanced breast cancer is a term to describe breast cancer that has progressed locally in the breast and nearby lymph nodes but has not spread outside these areas. It is often referred to as Stage III (3) breast cancer.
If your doctor has told you that you have locally advanced breast cancer, it’s likely that your breast cancer has some (or all) of the following features:
It’s important to understand that locally advanced breast cancer is not the same as metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer occurs where breast cancer has spread to other, more distant, parts of the body such as the bones, liver or other organs in the body. It is referred to as Stage IV (4) breast cancer. Read about metastatic breast cancer.
Every breast cancer is different. Depending on your individual circumstances and the subtype of breast cancer (i.e. hormone receptor-positive, HER2 receptor-positive or triple negative breast cancer), your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments described below: surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapies or hormone-blocking treatments.
Treatments for locally advanced breast cancer are similar to the treatments for other types of breast cancers. Depending on the size of your breast cancer or the way in which it has spread, your treatments may be offered at different stages from other people.
Treatment for locally advanced breast cancer may include one or a combination of:
Questions or concerns?
If you have questions or concerns about any part of your treatment, have a discussion with your doctor and treating team.
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctors to explain why a particular approach has been recommended. You can also ask your doctor whether you may be able to access a particular type of therapy.
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Contact BCNA’s Helpline on 1800 500 258 between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm AEST Monday to Friday, for information about the services and support that may be available for you and your family.
Conference for people affected by metastatic breast cancer
People often use complementary therapies to manage side effects and to improve wellbeing but discuss these with your treatment team first
Chemotherapy through a drip or in a tablet is common to control or slow metastatic breast cancer, relieve symptoms and improve quality of life
Drug treatments for early breast cancer may be recommended before surgery. This is called neoadjuvant therapy and has multiple benefits
Hormone-blocking therapies may be used in treatment. Understand which type is right for you, how it works, and possible side effects
Treatment types vary, depending on the type of metastatic breast cancer and where it has spread. Understand the options
If you choose alternative therapies that are unproven, instead of conventional breast cancer treatment, discuss this with your doctor