5 days ago I had a sentinal node biopsy and a second lumpectomy to get clean margins. The doc took 5 nodes one of which was positive for cancer. He did not insert a drain and for the last 3 days I can hear fluid sloshing around in my breast. Is this 'normal'? Also has anyone heard of not doing a total node removal if only one node was found to have micromalignancies? I'll be doing chemo but as I work a very physical job my docs are concerned about lymphodema taking away my career. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
You may have developed a seroma and you should have this ck'd by your Surgeon. If this is the case it can be drained or it may be left alone to absorb on it's own. Very seldom is a total node removal done ... there are so many and eack Surgeon has their own routine as to how many they remove. If your Physicians are concerned about Lymphedema you are very fortunate as many Dr.s don't even believe that it exists and give it very little or no consideration. Repetitive movements and heavy lifting should be avoided. It was recommended to me that during exercise or any such activity a compression sleeve and glove could be worn. You might consult a Physical Therapist who is specifically trained in the treatment of LE for advice in relation to your work. Good Luck ...
Hi. If you have a substantial amount of fluid accumulating in the lumpectomy site, your surgeon should place a drain to remove as much of this fluid as possible. Retention of fluid in the lumpectomy site may delay wound healing, predispose to the development of infection, and can sometimes cause pain. To adequately stage breast cancer, at least ten nodes should be removed and examined. Since one of the five nodes harvested was already positive for cancer, I think your surgeon should go after another five nodes to see if there are others which have cancer. With just one node positive, your nodal staging is N1, which makes your cancer only stage 2. If at least 4 nodes are positive for cancer (N2), your disease will be at a more advanced stage (Stage 3). At this point, we don't know if you really have metastases to only one node, since we don't know the status of the five additional nodes which were not harvested. I don't think that concern for lymphedema should be an excuse for your surgeons not to pursue a full diagnostic workup. There are effective measures which can be taken to prevent or lessen the lymphedema.
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