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Cancer Health Center

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Esophageal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Stages of Esophageal Cancer

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Stage III squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus

Stage III is divided into Stage IIIA, Stage IIIB, and Stage IIIC, depending on where the cancer has spread.

  • Stage IIIA: Cancer:
    • is in the inner (mucosal) layer and may have spread into the middle (muscle) layer of the esophageal wall. Cancer is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • has spread into the outer (connective tissue) layer of the esophageal wall. Cancer is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
      cdr0000759456.jpg
      Stage IIIA squamous cell cancer of the esophagus (1). Cancer is in the mucosa or submucosa layer and may have spread into the muscle layer of the esophagus wall, and cancer is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor; OR cancer has spread into the connective tissue layer of the esophagus wall, and cancer is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor.
    • has spread into the diaphragm, tissue that covers the lungs and lines the inner wall of the chest cavity, or sac around the heart. The cancer can be removed by surgery.
      cdr0000759738.jpg
      Stage IIIA squamous cell cancer of the esophagus (2). Cancer has spread into the (a) diaphragm, (b) pleura (tissue that covers the lungs and lines the inner wall of the chest cavity), or (c) membrane (sac) around the heart. The cancer can be removed by surgery.
  • Stage IIIB: Cancer has spread into the outer (connective tissue) layer of the esophageal wall. Cancer is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor.
    cdr0000759737.jpg
    Stage IIIB squamous cell cancer of the esophagus. Cancer has spread into the connective tissue layer of the esophagus wall. Cancer is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor.
  • Stage IIIC: Cancer has spread:
    • into the diaphragm, tissue that covers the lungs and lines the inner wall of the chest cavity, or sac around the heart. The cancer can be removed by surgery. Cancer is found in 1 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
      cdr0000759739.jpg
      Stage IIIC squamous cell cancer of the esophagus (1). Cancer has spread into the (a) diaphragm, (b) pleura (tissue that covers the lungs and lines the inner wall of the chest cavity), or (c) membrane (sac) around the heart. The cancer can be removed by surgery. Cancer is found in 1 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor.
    • into other nearby organs such as the aorta, trachea, or spine, and the cancer cannot be removed by surgery; or
    • to 7 or more lymph nodes near the tumor.
      cdr0000759740.jpg
      Stage IIIC squamous cell cancer of the esophagus (2). Cancer has spread into nearby organs, such as the aorta, trachea, or spine, and the cancer cannot be removed by surgery; OR cancer has spread to 7 or more lymph nodes near the tumor.
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