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Please explain staging for a local recurrence

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Please explain staging for a local recurrence. I have a 2nd local recurrence at the area of the original cancer and the first recurrence. I had a lumpectomy with radiation 15 years ago, and 10 years ago, a mastectomy with chemo and radiation. Also had a TRAM Flap reconstruction. This recurrence is in the chest wall near the sternum and the old scar site. There's no sign of metastasis after all the tests, the lump was about 1cm but didnt' have clean margins. The cancer is ER/PR positive, HER2 negative, grade 3. I am getting ready to start a weekly Taxotere with concurrent radiation.

My oncologist says he can't stage this. My radiation oncologist says the staging doesn't change from the original diagnosis. The original was a stage 1, but the first recurrence was a stage 2. I've read that any cancer at the chest wall is a T4, which is staged as a IIIa or b.

Can you clarify this?

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replied October 6th, 2006
Breast Cancer Answer A1580
T4 indicates that the tumor has infiltrated the local structures: skin (above) or chest muscle (under). If you have received a T4 diagnosis, the stage is at least IIIb.
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