Feb 02, 2000 (Reuters Health)
Women with breast cancer
who undergo removal of just one or two lymph nodes -- the first
nodes to which cancer usually spreads -- appear to suffer from
little or no side effects of the procedure, researchers suggest.
Traditionally, doctors track the extent of the disease and whether it
has spread by removing up to 20 lymph nodes in the armpit. Afterward,
women may suffer pain, swelling, nerve damage, and other symptoms,
according to Dr. Peter Schrenk and his colleagues at the Ludwig
Boltzmann Institute for Surgical Laparoscopy in Linz, Austria.
a new study, the investigators compared women who underwent the
traditional lymph node removal with those who had removal of
the sentinel lymph nodes, or those lymph nodes closest to the
cancer. To find a sentinel lymph node, researchers ``map'' the
flow of lymph -- the thick fluid that circulates throughout
the organs and body tissues -- by injecting a radioactive blue
dye near the breast tumor.
In the study of 70 breast cancer patients,
women who had many underarm lymph nodes removed suffered significantly
more side effects in the months after surgery. Twenty-four of
the 35 women who underwent traditional lymph node removal experienced
numbness, compared with none in the sentinel lymph node group;
19 had swelling, while none in the other group did; and 16 suffered
pain, while just 2 in the sentinel-node group reported minor
Presented at ASCO
Current Medical Res and Opinion, 2001
Annals of Surgical Oncology, 8/02
Annals of Surgical Oncology, 10/02
The Breast, 2/05
The Breast, 4/05
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