Lymph Node Removal May Not Be Necessary In Some Breast Cancers
Women who's tumors were smaller than 2 inches (T1 or T2), had a lumpectomy, and had 1 or 2 positive lymph nodes, were randomly assigned to have 10 or more additional nodes removed or to leave the nodes alone. Most of the women had radiation and chemotherapy or hormonal treatments. There was no significant difference between the two groups in 5-year survival. I've written more about the study on the Life-Cise News page.
This is big news! This, combined with previous research, is potentially practice-changing.
And this could make huge differences in the quality of life for thousands of women. Node removal carries risks. As many of us know, we face potential infections, pain, limited range of motion, and increased risk of lymphedema.
Imagine, not having to add worry of lymphedema to all the other worries that go with a cancer diagnosis.
But, as important as this study is, I find myself feeling just a little skeptical. It's interesting. I understand the findings, but emotionally, it's somehow hard to accept that less treatment/surgery is good enough. It's easier for me to accept an research that shows that more is necessary. I guess it's because we all feel such pressure to do everything we possibly can to beat this disease. I never want to go through all of what I did again, so I'm happy to add on something more. But doing less feels scary to me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm elated by this research. It doesn't matter for me, but could have such a major impact on other women in the future. It's wonderful for them.
I just find my fear of doing less interesting. Your thoughts? I'm curious how some of you feel about this.
- BY Julie Goodale | 02.09.2011
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