President’s Corner: Clinical Trial Breakthrough May Mean Less Surgery

Posted By on March 15th, 2011 at 8:52 am | 3 comments.

Removal of lymph nodes may not decrease recurrences or increase overall survival rates for some women, according to a Journal of the American Medical Association study.  The study results are particularly promising for some women with early-stage breast cancer, although we caution that for others, more research is needed.

The study’s results show promise particularly for those women with tumors less than 5 centimeters and no more than two positive sentinel nodes who are undergoing lumpectomy followed by radiation. The study did not provide enough data to make a determination on treatment for those under age 50 or those with particularly aggressive cancers. As with all treatment decisions, be sure to talk with your doctor to determine the best plan for you.

Tags: , , ,

3 Responses

  1. Jessica says:

    Am I misunderstanding this–you are saying the AMA has denounced the effectiveness of lymph node removal? How is this considered promising?

    I had two lymph nodes removed (after a sentinal node biopsy) and the nodes tested negative. Do you mean to say that this “may not decrease [my chance of a ] recurrence or increase [my] overall survival rate?” I don’t understand how this news is promising? I should hope it DID decrease my chance of recurrence and increase my overal survival chances b/c they tested negative for cancer cells?!?!

  2. Dolores says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for leaving a comment. We want everyone to be informed about new medical advances that the PA Breast Cancer Coalition discusses.

    As you know, sentinel lymph node removal and biopsy are a first step in determining whether breast cancer has spread. The study referred to here supports the continuation of that procedure. Typically, if these initial underarm lymph nodes show evidence of cancer, then it is recommended that additional lymph nodes be removed surgically. This secondary step, the axillary lymph node removal, is what was studied with this clinical trial.

    The results of the five year study were that for some women, there may not be a benefit to removing any more lymph nodes than the original sentinel node.

    More details about the study can be found at http://pbcc.me/6i.

    If you have any further questions, please feel free to give me a call at 800-377-8828 or email me at info@pabreastcancer.org.

    Dolores

  3. Dolores says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for leaving a comment. We want everyone to be informed about new medical advances that the PA Breast Cancer Coalition discusses.

    As you know, sentinel lymph node removal and biopsy are a first step in determining whether breast cancer has spread. The study referred to here supports the continuation of that procedure. Typically, if these initial underarm lymph nodes show evidence of cancer, then it is recommended that additional lymph nodes be removed surgically. This secondary step, the axillary lymph node removal, is what was studied with this clinical trial.

    The results of the five year study were that for some women, there may not be a benefit to removing any more lymph nodes than the original sentinel node.

    More details about the study can be found at http://pbcc.me/6i.

    If you have any further questions, please feel free to give me a call at 800-377-8828 or email me at info@pabreastcancer.org.

    Dolores

Leave a Reply