(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) - New research suggests that the removal of many lymph nodes for women in the early stages of breast cancer is not always needed, reports HealthDay News.
The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that removing just those lymph nodes that the cancer initially spreads to has the same effect on a woman's length of survival as removing the aforementioned nodes as well as other nodes.
"If you're looking at a woman with a very limited amount of disease in the sentinel node and with a very limited amount of disease undergoing breast conservation surgery [lumpectomy], it may suggest that they can potentially avoid axillary dissection [removing most or all of the lymph nodes under the arm]...but that's being said with a lot of caution," Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital told HealthDay News. "[But] we can't say that they absolutely can."
A randomized trial, conducted by researchers at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center, found that women who had sentinel lymph node dissection or axillary lymph node dissection had the same length of survival.
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