When you hear the words “You have cancer,” your life changes – instantly. All of a sudden, you’ve crossed a line: the “cancer divide.” You’ve joined the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are battling this wretched disease. Some of us live; some of us die. And all of us are marked by the experience for life. Cancer comes with a centuries-old, ugly reputation. For hundreds of years, the chief weapon against solid-tumor cancers has been the knife.
Isolate the tumor; cut it out. Find out where it’s spread; do some more cutting. Surgically obliterate all traces of cancer, and only then move on to adjuvant therapy: chemo, radiation, drugs. Surgery as the first bastion of defense for a particular group of cancer patients took a huge hit this week, however, when the Journal of the American Medical Association reported results of a study involving breast cancer survivors. It appears that surgically removing all traces of cancer might not ...
Biopsy - lymph nodes; Open lymph node biopsy; Fine needle aspiration biopsy; Sentinel lymph node biopsy
Carlson RW, Allred DC, Anderson BO, Burstein HJ, Carter WB, Edge SB, et al. Breast cancer. Clinical practice guidelines in oncology. J Natl Compr Canc Netw . 2009;7:122-192.
Clinical practice guideline for melanoma: NCCN Medical Practice Guidelines and Oncology; V.2.2010. Available online.
Skin cancer sometimes spreads to other areas of the body, often the lymph nodes. Your lymph nodes are located throughout your body and work to fight infection and filter out toxins from the bloodstream but sometimes cancer cells begin growing in the lymph nodes.
When skin cancer is diagnosed, your doctor may recommend testing to determine whether your lymph nodes are affected . This is done through a biopsy or diagnostic tools such as a CT scan. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, your doctor may recommend a lymph node dissection.
During a lymph node dissection, your doctor removes the lymph nodes closest to the primary cancer site – for example, if skin cancer is detected on your arm, the lymph nodes in your armpit on the side of your body the cancer is found will be removed. Lymph nodes are not removed individually, instead an area of tissue surrounding the lymph nodes is removed. Once removed, a pathologist examines the tissue, looks for cancer cells and...
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.