Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
In the old days, following a breast cancer diagnosis, all of the lymph
nodes in the armpit were routinely removed (often 30-40 nodes). All of
that has changed. Sentinel lymph node biopsy generally removes only 1
or 2 lymph nodes and has proven to be a highly accurate way of identifying
breast cancer that has spread to axillary lymph nodes. This is important
for staging the cancer and determining a more accurate and tailored treatment plan.
Lymph nodes are found throughout the body, including underneath the arm,
above the collarbone and in the chest. If cancer has spread outside the
breast, it is often first found in the lymph nodes in the armpit. That’s
why lymph nodes under the arm (axillary nodes) are examined during breast
If the sentinel lymph nodes are negative, no additional lymph nodes need
to be removed.