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What is Stage 3 cancer?

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Stage III cancer is an active malignancy that has grown large and that may have spread to the lymph nodes but that is not generally present in tissues throughout the body. According to Cancer.Net, some overlap exists between stages II and III, and the determination as to the proper classification of the cancer is made by a doctor who evaluates it for size and spread.

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A stage III cancer is one that has grown large and cut deeply into surrounding tissues, explains Cancer.Net. A determination of stage III status is made according to a three-item scale. Doctors who evaluate cancer growth rank the tumor according to its size, its presence or absence in the lymphatic system and the degree to which it has spread to other tissues throughout the body.

According to Cancer.Net, a stage III cancer has generally grown larger than a stage II cancer but not as large as a cancer in stage IV. A stage III malignancy may have spread into the lymph nodes but not to the extent present in stage IV cancer. Finally, a stage III cancer is one that does not appear to have spread to distant tissues and organs though it may have erupted through the membrane around the tissue where it began.

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