Could cancer metastase to distant regional lymph nodes before it metastase to the nearby lymph nodes?

No. tumors metastasize to regional nodes before distant nodes, but what goes to nodal disease only stays nodal. When breast spreads to nodes, one pos. axillary node is said to have better prognosis that 10 nodes. This is not due to # nodes but more nodes means primary has been spreading over a longer period of time. If axilla speads it is only to supraclavicular nodes and no other site.