Breast Cancer Expert Forum
How many laxillary lymph nodes are there?
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Questions posted in the Breast Cancer Forum are answered by medical professionals and experts. Topics include Breast Biopsy, Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy, Lumps, Lumpectomy, Lymph node dissection, Lymphedema, Mammograms, Mastectomy, Radiation Therapy, Reconstruction, Self Breast Exam, and Surgery.

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How many laxillary lymph nodes are there?

While undergoing a lumpectomy, 1 of my 3 sentinal nodes was positive. Total number removed was 9. My surgeon tells me I have "a few" axillary lymph nodes remaining. I can't seem to find out what the approximate number of nodes an individual has. A year ago a friend of mine had a total of 36 nodes removed, 16 were positive. She now has a mild form of lymphedema caused by over extending the muscles due to heavy housework. She has 0 axillary nodes left in that arm. My surgeon informed me only to be concerned with cat scratches, nicks, abrasions, anything that could cause a possible infection. She seems quite certain I won't have a problem with lymphedema, but if I did anything strenuous I should wear a pressure garment, i.e; rowing, cross-country skiing. She also told me to use my arm the same as I did before surgery; hand weights, exercise. I am very careful and always conscience now of of my left arm and check it daily for any signs of swelling. I will soon complete 7 weeks of radition to the breast area only. Have additional nodes been damaged?
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Dear aries, At lymph node dissection for breast cancer a certain area under the arm is removed to examine the lymph nodes.  The number of lymph nodes found in this area varies between women.  If only the breast was within the radiation field and no lymph nodes within the radiation field then no additional nodes would not have been effected.

For more comprehensive information about lymphedema prevention and treatment we have information on our Cleveland Clinic Website. Which is www.clevelandclinic.org once there, click on Health Information Center, then type in lymphedema.
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