Stages IIIB and Inoperable IIIC
Women with Stage IIIB (including inflammatory breast cancer) or inoperable Stage IIIC breast cancer usually have chemotherapy. If the chemotherapy shrinks the tumor, the doctor then may suggest further treatment:
- Mastectomy possibly followed by radiation therapy to the chest and underarm area.
- Breast-sparing surgery possibly followed by radiation therapy to the chest and underarm area.
- Radiation therapy. The doctor also may recommend more chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or both, to help prevent the disease from coming back in the breast or elsewhere.
In most cases, women with Stage IV breast cancer have hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or both. Some also may have biological therapy. Radiation may be used to control tumors in certain parts of the body. These treatments are not likely to cure the disease, but they may help extend life.
Many women have supportive care along with anticancer treatments. Anticancer treatments are given to slow the progress of the disease. Supportive care helps manage pain, other symptoms, or side effects (such as nausea). It's goal is increasing quality of life rather than life extension. Some women with advanced cancer decide to have only supportive care.