My friend has breast cancer. She says she needs a sentinel lymph node biopsy. What is that?

Removing a few nodes. A sentinel node biopsy means removing several lymph nodes in the chain of armpit lymph nodes. Blue dye and/or radioactivity is injected into the breast.The first armpit lymph nodes that "light up" are removed and examined for cancer cells. We know that cancer cells travel through lymph nodes in order. If the sentinel lymph nodes are negative, the others are assumed to be negative as well.
A surgical procedure. This is a surgical procedure to identify the first node that receives drainage from the site of the cancer, and is thus the node most likely to have cancer if cancer has spread. It is done routinely for breast cancer. The node is removed and examined under the microscope for cancer. The results will help determine what additional treatments may be needed.
Staging procedure. This is a surgical procedure that is usually performed at the same time as the breast procedure. A radiotracer and/or blue dye is injected into the breast. These travel through the lymphatic system and stop in the first draining lymph node. A small incision is made in the armpit and the surgeon removes the lymph node that has the blue dye and the radiotracer. This node is studied for cancer.
Node staging. With invasive cancer, ax nodes are often the 1st site away from the breast. Staging used to be removing the ax fat pad w/12-15 nodes. As most pts are node neg at dx, removing the 1st node(s) in the chain (sentinel or predictive) gives the same or better staging info wi/less morbidity. These nodes are mapped by dye injection at surgery which travels to the nodes as cancer cells would potentially.

Related Questions

O had surgery for positive breast cancer. Is sentinel lymph node biopsy accurate for breast cancer surgery. Node was negative.

Yes they are. by now sentinel lymph node are the standard of care for breast cancer surgery and staging, and yes they are very accurate. node is negative is a very good news that will make the cancer early stage and hopefully cureable. Read more...

I have breast cancer, can I do a sentinal lymph node biopsy before I decide on which procedure to do (lumpectomy or mastectomy)?

Yes. In fact, that is exactly what some women do before starting pre-operative chemotherapy. First, they have their sentinel node biopsy, then they have their chemotherapy and finally they have their surgery, either lumpectomy or mastectomy. Read more...
Sentinel Lymph Node. It doesn't make much sense to do a sentinel lymph node biopsy before surgery. The sentinel lymph node biopsy is done at the same time as your surgery in order to stage the tumor. The top priority here is to get your tumor out. Hopefully your surgeon would have explained to you that there is no difference in survival or cancer recurrence whether you choose mastectomy or lumpectomy as your treatment. Read more...
Yes. Sentinel node biopsy can be done prior to breast surgery for a variety if reasons, such as before neoadjuvant chemotherapy (to stage patients). Before mastectomy (to determine if radiation is needed or reconstruction can be done), etc. It is not commonly done to help decide between lumpectomy and mastectomy, so it is important to review how the sln results would impact your decision. Read more...

Should I have a sentinel lymph node biopsy to find out if there is spread to the lymph nodes?

See specialist. This is an important question to discuss with your dermatologist. If the melanoma is 1-4mm thick, sln biopsy is often recommended. Between 0.7-1mm depends on other features of your melanoma. Since we have yet to demonstrate survival benefits, sln biopsy is still used primarily for staging. That said, discussion with your specialist is essential as each case is different. Read more...
Yes, for breast CA. Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a critical part of breast cancer surgery, used to stage the cancer, and therefore guide further therapy. A recent study has established that many women do not require further lymph node removal even if there is cancer in the sentinel node. Read more...
Likely. With any invasive breast cancer diagnosis, nodal staging is usually indicated most often via sentinel node mapping/biopsy. If there are palpable nodes or abnormal nodes on axillary ultrasound, they can be sampled via fna and if positive, sentinel node biopsy is not necessary. Slnbx is also usually done at the time of mastectomy for dcis in case invasive disease is found at final pathology. Read more...
Depends. This would depend on what type of caner you have and the predicted probability of that tumor spreading to a lymph node. Read more...

My best friend is fighting stage IV breast cancer an how the cancer spread through her brain and lungs and lymph node, what are her chances?

5 year survival Rate. According to the american cancer society the 5 year relative survival rate for stage IV breast cancer is 22%. Read more...
Not great. Once cancer reaches the brain, survival is diminished. But there are long term survivors that have brain metastasis. The best thing that you can do is provide hope and support for her. Hope this helps. Read more...

For breast cancer can lymph nodes be tested with needle biopsy or must they 100% be removed to check them.?

Depends on size. Larger lymph nodes that can be felt or are over 1/2" on ultrasound can be biopsied with a needle. If that shows cancer, often no further lymph node surgery is needed NOW, but might be needed later. If no lymph nodes can be felt, and none are enlarged by ultrasound, then a "Sentinel Node Biopsy" -- removing the "sentry" or guardian lymph node of the armpit is needed; sometimes more than one. Read more...

Do you need to remove 100% of a lymph node to check for breast cancer, or can they be checked with a needle biopsy?

Yes. lymph nodes are only of concern if a malignant lesion of breast is present. Usually the breast tumors are small and the incidence of nodal involvement is low so that following excisional biopsy a sentinel node bx is performed removing only those nodes in the field of drainage. If a node is palpable, it is best to remove by excisional bx unless very large when aspiration can be tried. Read more...

Biopsy showed Breast cancer cells present in one lymph node, no previous or current BC showing in mammo, US or MRI, how is this possible?

LN + for BC cells. All the screening tests to detect breast cancer are not "100%" accurate, even bilateral MRI. Finding a "lump" in one's breast may occur without m'gm/U/S or MRI detection of "possible breast cancer". The good news is that finding these cells when the screening tests were negative, allows early treatment, and a good chance of stopping the disease. Read more...

After a biopsy, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctor said it is in the lymph nodes. I got results that came out negative but instead said metastatic breast. What does this mean?

Not sure. I am not sure what you mean. What tests were negative? Pathology evaluation of a biopsy sample is the only way to know for sure. Radiology findings or other tests may suggest or imply a lack of cancer, but a biopsy will tell for certain. Read more...
Not clear to me. Typically, breast cancer spreads first to regional lymph nodes and then to other parts of the body. Once breast cancer spreads to the lymph nodes it is considered to have metastasized. It would be critical to understand exactly what results were "negative" to determine its significance. Read more...

22yrs old mammogram normal enlarged right axillary lymph node 7mm left axillary lymph node 3mm waiting biopsy results. Family history breast cancer?

Be patient. Even with a family history of breast cancer, it would be very rare for a 22 yo to have the disease. You only have about a 14-15% chance of developing breast cancer, unless there are multiple family members who have the disease. There are many reasons for lymph nodes to enlarge, many benign, so just wait for the results. Good luck. Read more...
Lymph node biopsy? The most common reason lymph nodes enlarge is simple inflammation. In this way they help ur body fight infections. If ur mammogram is normal and u have no suspicious breast masses on exam your risk of cancer is very low. The family history increases that a bit. But it depends --were the relatives who got breast cancer old or young when they got it? If young, risk is higher. Md should counsel. Read more...
Further eval needed. What kind of family history? You may be a candidate for brca testing. Check out www.Myriad.Com for more info about whether you meet criteria for testing, or contact me with more information so you can be better advised. Read more...