Additional research on side effects of lymph node removal?


Question from ASilva: For those who have had lymph nodes removed, is there any research happening in regards to lessening the side effects?
Answers - Andrew D. Seidman, M.D. We actually have a wealth of new data from this year's American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. There was a study that showed that sentinel lymph node biopsy is indeed a safe alternative to full axillary lymph node dissection when the sentinel lymph node does not contain cancer. This supports what has already become common clinical practice. The sentinel lymph node procedure typically results in less pain and, importantly, less lymphedema.

There was additional provocative data from the ACOSOG Z11 trial that even called into question the role of axillary lymph node dissection at all in patients with a small axillary tumor burden, generally favorable tumors, who underwent breast-conserving surgery. However, it is important to note that this trial fell quite short of its target patient accrual and patients should discuss the possibility of omitting axillary lymph node dissection directly with their breast surgeons.

Editor's Note: Visit Breastcancer.org's Reducing Risk of Lymphedema and Lymphedema Flare-Ups page for more information.

On Thursday, June 10, 2010, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting. Andrew Seidman, M.D. and Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, and more.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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