The lymph nodes reveal information about outlook and they help doctors determine the best types of treatment against the cancer. Your lymph nodes act as filters for your body's lymphatic drainage system. That's why the lymph nodes are likely to "catch" or filter out cancer cells that might be floating in the fluid that drains away from the cancerous area of the breast.
The surgeon will inject a blue dye and a radioactive substance (called a tracer) into the tumor or the skin over the tumor. The first lymph nodes that turn blue and pick up the tracer are called the sentinel (meaning "first") lymph nodes. The lymph node or nodes are then removed and sent to the pathologist, who looks to see if they contain any cancer cells. If no cancer cells are found, then no additional lymph node surgery is done.
If cancer cells are found in the nodes, then more underarm lymph nodes usually need to be removed. This is called an axillary (the armpit area) lymph node dissection (removal). There are thr...
There are two major North American conferences a year where advances in clinical breast cancer research are showcased. The first is the San Antonio Breast Conference, which happens each December. The second is the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which occurs each June. Some years, breakthrough research and landmark presentations are showcased, but this years’ San Antonio conference was pretty tame. Some updates on previously discussed clinical trials , some news on the two drugs for breast cancer that will likely be approved in 2007 ( avastin and lapatanib ), but no major breakthroughs. But this one item struck me as fairly interesting…. A company called Veridex has a product called GeneSearch BLN Assay that will improve the accuracy of sentinel node biopsy. Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a technique that allows localization of the sentinel, or major draining lymph node via an intraoperative technique. Click on the link for an image of a sentinel node biopsy . If the se...
More things to look for on your pathology report - my last post on pathology reports covered histology, margins and grade. Other important things a pathologist will consider:
Size of the Breast Cancer (Measured in cm)
This is somewhat an approximation of the size in diameter of a three dimensional tumor - looking for the widest point. Breast cancer can sometimes be shaped oddly - think of a bow turned on itself in which case it would look like two separate focuses of cancer - the skillful pathologist will comment on the actual size and whether the cancer is one site "focus" or many sites (multifocal). The smaller the size of the cancer, the better.
Lymph Nodes (Sentinel and Other)
The most important prognostic feature of breast cancer is still felt to be the involvement of lymph nodes with cancer - the # of involved lymph nodes and some features of lymph node involvement being key.
The sentinel lymph node(s) is/are the "draining" lymph nodes from th...
You should knowAnswers to your question are meant to provide general health information but should not replace medical advice you receive from a doctor. No answers should be viewed as a diagnosis or recommended treatment for a condition. Content posted by community members does not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media, which also reserves the right to remove material deemed inappropriate.