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Dr. Linder's Blog

Changing Treatments For Early Stage Breast Cancer

Posted On: February 10, 2011 Author: The Office of Dr. Stuart Linder Posted In: Breast topics

Before & After PatientRecently in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMMA), new studies indicate that approximately 20% of breast cancer patients who have either one or only two lymph node involvement or Sentinel nodes in the axilla may do well without a total lymph node resection or removal.  Removing all of those lymph nodes does have increased risk in patients, including severe lymphedema, swelling of the arm as well as nerve sensitivity, loss and numbness.  Most importantly, studies have indicated that the women who have not undergone lymphadenectomy, but rather lumpectomy with the single or two nodes removal, radiation therapy and possible chemotherapy, have actually done as well with recurrence being similar to those who have had total lymph node removal.  The paper was based out of Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which has now changed its own guidelines based on this study to reduce the side-effects of total lymphadenectomies associated with severe lymphedema on patients with early stage tumors with only one or two lymph nodes in the armpit.  Further research needs to be done and larger numbers of women need to be researched and reviewed as to the recurrence rate when only two versus total lymphadenectomies are performed on women with early stage breast tumors or cancers.