Some breast cancer patients can retain lymph nodes, avoiding lymphedema

New Swedish research suggests that extensive lymph node removal may not be necessary for all breast cancer patients. The study tracked outcomes for nearly 2,800 patients with metastases in one or two sentinel nodes. Results showed that post-surgical therapy was effective in controlling cancer spread, even without extensive lymph node removal. Patients with larger metastases in sentinel nodes who opted for more radical lymph removal had higher rates of lymphedema. The study concluded that lymph node removal can be avoided in cases with minimal metastases, opting instead for radiation therapy to the armpit to reduce complications. This approach has been implemented in Sweden.

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