Cancer Information

stage III esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

(... 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.