Breast cancer, lymph nodes

Many women with early breast cancer do not appear to need removal of their lymph nodes, as is often recommended. • About 200,000 U.S. women each year are diagnosed with breast cancer • Study shows taking out cancerous nodes of 20 percent of patients, or 40,000 women, has no advantage

Large numbers

Nodes

New thinking
• Removal had been recommended when cancer spread to lymph nodes to reduce risk of reoccurrence • Removal is painful, makes recovery more difficult and can lead to lymphedema or swelling • Research shows that chemotherapy and radiation wipe out disease in the nodes
Source: Mayo Clinic, American Cancer Society, JAMA

Lymphatic system A network of vessels and nodes that carries nutrients and infectionfighting white blood cells to all parts of the body

© 2011 MCT

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