Dr. Jerry V. Teplitz offers this information about new studies regarding breast cancer treatment.
A study reported in Annals of Surgery found that for certain women with breast cancer, a lumpectomy which includes the removal of many lymph nodes may not be necessary. When cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, the current standard cancer treatment is removal of all the other non-cancerous nodes in the region. This study found that removing all these lymph nodes has virtually no impact on survival or disease recurrence. As a matter of fact, reducing the number of lymph nodes removed reduces the patient’s levels of pain and debilitation.
Another study found that if a lumpectomy is performed, then a single dose of radiation delivered directly to the site of the tumor right after the surgery was as effective as 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments.
After five years, the survival rate for those who had all the lymph nodes removed was 82.2%, while the survival rate for those who did not have this surgery was a little better at 83.8%.
Please be sure to consult with your own health care practitioner about what options are best for you.