Some radical news from the laboratories of breast cancer research and treatment.
A recent study of almost 900 women with breast cancer suggests that complete lymph node removal may not be necessary.
If women meet certain criteria, surgically removing lymph nodes has no proven benefit. The patients in the study survived at the same rate regardless of whether or not their lymph nodes were completely removed.
Many doctors now believe that chemotherapy, drugs, and radiation can fully kill the cancer in lymph nodes, thereby eliminating the need for surgery.
And surgical removal of lymph nodes can have many negative side effects, including infection, loss of movement, abnormal sensations, and painful lymphedema.
This discovery is being called "radical," "practice-changing," and a "big deal in the world of breast cancer."
Of course, more research and study is required, but we're happy to hear that breast cancer patients may not need to go under the knife as often as we thought!