How long surgery takes
Surgery takes about an hour. The process of being admitted and prepared for surgery will vary from place to place. The amount of time you spend in the recovery room, waking up and getting to the point that you're ready to go home, will vary from woman to woman.
Most surgeons make a two–to–three–inch incision in the skin crease under your arm.
General anesthesia is used. Most commonly, the lower two levels of the three levels of axillary nodes will be removed. Occasionally, a surgeon will take one or two nodes from the top level, as an extra precaution. If you have a modified radical mastectomy, the lymph node dissection usually occurs in the same operation. If you have a lumpectomy, the lymph node dissection may occur at the same time or in a later operation. Once the surgeon removes the nodes, a pathologist will examine them carefully for signs of cancer. It may take days before the pathology report is available.
Lost or dec...
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 ...
One main lymph node area (the armpit, or "axilla") and two secondary lymph node areas (the internal mammary and supraclavicular regions) filter the lymph fluid draining away from the breast area.
Since the job of the lymph nodes is to filter out "bad guys" like cancer cells, this is a logical place to look for breast cancer cells that have escaped the original tumor and are trying to go elsewhere in the body. Cancer cells may also leave the breast through the bloodstream and bypass the lymph nodes. However, the presence ("node-positive") or absence ("node-negative") of cancer in the lymph nodes is one of the most important signposts your doctor will use to determine the best treatment for you.
“The bottom line is that if your lymph nodes are involved, it tells your doctors a lot about the nature of your cancer. It means that this is a tumor with a potential nasty streak and a higher risk of spreading to other parts of your body. Knowing the bottom line can help guid...
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