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A 31-year-old member asked:

Lymph node biopsy? for every type of cancer, is it standard to do a lyph node biopsy? what does it typically detect?

3 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine 42 years experience
It : It is not "standard" to do a lymph node biopsy for every type of cancer. A cancer may be diagnosed after having spread to a lymph node from a distant site, e.g. From a lung or stomach. When cancer therapy is possible by a surgical procedure, i.e. It has not spread to surrounding structures from the organ in which it has arisen, it is standard procedure to surgically remove lymph nodes in the region of the cancer to determine if the cancer has spread to the adjacent lymph nodes. The presence or absence of the cancer in these lymph nodes is then used to determine what kind of additional therapy is necessary to aid in "cure" of the cancer. Additional forms of therapy are chemotherapy (anti-cancer drugs) and radiation (x-ray therapy).
Dr. Uma Swamy
Radiation Oncology 17 years experience
No: No, its not standard to do a lymph node biopsy for every type of cancer. But if a lymph node biopsy has been recommended, it can be for many reasons: 1) determine the type of cancer cell 2) determine if the lymph node is involved with cancer which can dictate staging which in turn can dictate prognosis and treatment strategies.
Dr. Lauren Stegman
Radiation Oncology 28 years experience
Only in some: Lymph nodes can be thought of as filters in the body. Nodes can sometimes "catch" cancer cells as they begin to spread outside the organ or tissue where the cancer started. A node biopsy looks for cancer cells trapped and growing in a node. For some, but not all, kinds of cancer, a lymph node biopsy is necessary to determine the stage of the disease and appropriate treatment.

Similar questions

A 38-year-old member asked:

What cancers does a lymph node biopsy detect? Should healthy people have them?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Liawaty Ho
Hematology and Oncology 24 years experience
Lymph node: All of us have many lymphglands through out or body. Normal lymph glands usually will be less than 1cm.Lymph glands can be enlarged as a reaction to something- like infection, inflammation, malignancy etc.When cancer present, in majority cases, lymph nodes will become the first organ to be affected ( as our immune system is trying to fight the cancer)- before it starting to spread somewhere else.
Last updated Mar 12, 2020


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