Breast Cancer Community
Lymph Node Removal
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This patient support community is for discussions relating to breast cancer, biopsy, genetics, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, lumps, lumpectomy, lymph node dissection, lymphedema, mammograms, mastectomy, radiation therapy, reconstruction, and self exams.

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Lymph Node Removal

My wife was recently diagnosed with Infiltrating Lobular Carc. (Grade 1, 1.2 cm) with residual infiltrating carc.(.1cm) and LCIS. Estrogen receptors positive. Nodes were not taken when lumpectomy completed - surgeon did not suspect cancer due to sive and shape of tumor. MRI subsequently done on other breast came back okay.
Surgeon recommends lymph node removal and states sentinal node biopsy may not be 100% accurate. My wife is prepared for mastectomy, but is concerned about the complete lymph node disection due to risk of lymphedema. Sounds like the options are getting the sentinal node biopsy completed and following up with mastectomy or scheduling one procedure with mastectomy and lymph node removal.
Any information on relative risks of lymphedema or other questions we should be prepared to ask when we meet the surgeon on Monday?
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4 Comments
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I had a sentinel node biopsy, where 2 lymphnodes were removed. My friend had 13 lymph nodes removed 12 years ago, and we are both doing great. We are both in our 40s and very active.
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I had 5 lymph nodes removed during masectomy surgery. I have had no problems. I was 41 now 42.
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Three years ago I had sentinel node biopsy with two nodes removed and tested negative both microscopically and with special staining procedure.  My mother had 26 lymph nodes removed five years ago - once again all negative but she suffers from mild lymphedema and did not have the sentinel node biopsy.   We both had lumpectomies with highly positive estrogen receptors.  I have not heard anything about sentinel node biopsy being inaccurate.  We are both doing well.
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I was dx Jan 2003 with a 2 cm invasive ductal tumour. Had the option of either a lumpectomy and rads or mastectomy and no rads. Sentinel biopsy of the lymph nodes was not available then at my hospital in England. The surgeon took out 8 nodes, 3 were cancerous on biopsy so went back a month later for total axillary removal, when one more node was found cancerous. He took out 18 nodes in total.Coupled with the size, grade and stage of the tumour the Oncologist strongly recommended chemo. I had 6 x FEC, 3 weeks apart, and then 25 rads with 3 boosters. Took 11 months of treatment, but I figure I gave this beast my best shot.

I didn't get lymphoedema in my arm, but ironically, this past year have it in the breast where the tumour was. Seeing the surgeon next week and going to ask for a referral to the lymphoedema clinic for treatment. It is not painful and I have no problems, it just looks much larger than the other breast, very puffy and looks as if ready to burst! But hey, I am still here 4 years later, and don't regret my choices for one moment.
Liz
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