Most Women Diagnosed With Early-Stage Disease Don’t Have More Than a Few Lymph Nodes Removed

May 2015

When early-stage breast cancer is removed, the lymph node closest to the cancer called the sentinel node often is removed and sent to a pathologist for evaluation. Removing just this one node is called sentinel node biopsy or sentinel node dissection.
If cancer cells are in the sentinel node, it means the cancer has spread beyond the breast. Until recently, doctors thought that more treatment was necessary to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence), including removing other underarm lymph nodes (called axillary node surgery/dissection).
But a practice-changing study, called the ACOSOG Z-11 trial, found that women diagnosed with early-stage disease with one or two positive sentinel nodes who have lumpectomy and radiation do just as well as women who have axillary node surgery. Click Here

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