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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms



stage III esophageal squamous cell carcinoma  listen  (... ee-SAH-fuh-JEE-ul SKWAY-mus sel KAR-sih-NOH-muh)

  Stage III is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC, depending on where the cancer has spread. In stage IIIA, cancer (1) 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 (2) 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 (3) has spread into the diaphragm, sac around the heart, or tissue that covers the lungs and lines the inner wall of the chest cavity. The cancer can be removed by surgery. In 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. In stage IIIC, cancer has spread (1) into the diaphragm, sac around the heart, or tissue that covers the lungs and lines the inner wall of the chest cavity; the cancer can be removed by surgery. Cancer is found in 1 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor; or (2) into other nearby organs such as the aorta, trachea, or spine, and the cancer cannot be removed by surgery; or (3) to 7 or more lymph nodes near the tumor.

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Stage IIIA squamous cell cancer of the esophagus (1); drawing shows the  esophagus and stomach. A two-panel inset shows the layers of the esophagus wall: the mucosa, submucosa, muscle, and connective tissue layers. The left panel shows cancer in the mucosa and submucosa layers and in 3 lymph nodes. The right panel shows cancer in the mucosa, submucosa, muscle, and connective tissue layers and in 1 lymph node.
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Stage IIIA squamous cell cancer of the esophagus (2); drawing shows the esophagus, trachea, and lung. The top inset shows cancer that has spread from the esophagus into the diaphragm and pleura; the aorta, chest wall, and rib are also shown. The bottom inset shows cancer that has spread from the esophagus into the membrane (sac) around the heart.
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Stage IIIB squamous cell cancer of the esophagus; drawing shows the esophagus and stomach. An inset shows the layers of the esophagus wall with cancer in the mucosa, submucosa, muscle, and connective tissue layers. Also shown is cancer in 4 lymph nodes.
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Stage IIIC squamous cell cancer of the esophagus (1); drawing shows the esophagus, trachea, and lung. The top inset shows cancer that has spread from the esophagus into the diaphragm and pleura; the aorta, chest wall, and rib are also shown. The bottom inset shows cancer that has spread from the esophagus into the membrane (sac) around the heart. Also shown is cancer in  lymph nodes near the esophagus.
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Stage IIIC squamous cell cancer of the esophagus (2); drawing shows cancer that has spread from the esophagus into the trachea, aorta, and spine. Also shown is cancer in lymph nodes near the esophagus.