February 9, 2011

Limited Node Removal Recommended In Breast Cancer Treatment

A study released Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) leaves researchers with evidence that early stage breast cancer patients who have a small amount of lymph node removed fare as well as those who get more extensive surgery, AFP reports.

The California-based study included 891 patients who were followed from 1999 to 2004. Researchers studied survival rates among those who had the first lymph node, or sentinel lymph node, removed compared to those who had lymph nodes from the armpit removed, known as axillary lymph node dissection (ALND).

"ALND may no longer be justified for certain patients," the study said. "Implementation of this practice change would improve clinical outcomes in thousands of women each year by reducing the complications associated with ALND and improving quality of life with no diminution in survival."

The limited surgical intervention resulted in five-year overall survival rates of 92.5 percent compared to 91.8 percent among those who had more lymph nodes taken out.

Disease-free survival was also similar across the two groups, with 83.9 percent in the sentinel node group and 82.2 in the group that had more extensive intervention.


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