Breast cancer finding may change treatment

Many women with breast cancer will no longer face a potentially devastating side effect of their cancer surgery, as the conclusions of a newly published study about the need to remove underarm lymph nodes are taken to heart by breast surgeons.
The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that women who underwent lumpectomies for tumors of less than 2 inches and whose lymph nodes did not have obvious signs of disease, showed no difference in survival if many lymph nodes were removed or if only their sentinel nodes were removed.
Surgeons will still remove one to three sentinel nodes, the first nodes that drain lymphatic fluid from the breast, to see if the cancer is spreading beyond the breast. Finding cancer in those nodes indicates that disease cells have migrated and could cause metastases elsewhere. Such patients almost always are treated with chemotherapy. Read more…

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