By: Metacafe Affiliate U
BY KIM HOJONG
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Breast cancer patients do not necessarily have to go through major surgery on their lymph nodes. That’s according to a study released by the New England Journal of Medicine.
A medical editor for NBC explains -- the news affects some 30 percent of early stage breast cancer patients.
NANCY SNYDERMAN: “This is one of those cases where doing less, according to all the breast cancer experts we talked to, can actually mean better quality of life and really no change in survival for women.”
An expert for the New York Times explains why removing fewer lymph nodes doesn’t hurt the breast cancer survival chances.
“...the tumors were early, at clinical stage T1 or T2, meaning less than two inches across. Biopsies of one or two armpit nodes had found cancer, but the nodes were not enlarged enough to be felt during an exam, and the cancer had not spread anywhere else.”
CNN reports the news is important because lymph node dissection can be painful and sometimes even disabling. Dr. Monica Morrow, the surgical oncologist who led the study, says it’s another important step in the fight against breast cancer.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN: “What about to your colleagues out there -- other doctors across countries -- who are performing breast cancer surgery. How do you bring them on board and get them to perhaps changing thinking? Which for so long has been, ‘Let’s get these nodes out.’”
DR. MONICA MORROW: “The change is definitely hard, but I think this is not a finding in isolation. ... This is just the next step in that evolution. Drug therapy gets better and surgery can get smaller.”
But, Dr. Katherine Lee, a women’s health expert at the Cleveland Clinic, said the debate over lymph nodes testing is nothing new.
“...how do we treat these cancer cells that are found in these lymph nodes that we didn’t initially find? That’s the important question here. And this study suggests that maybe we don’t have to treat all of these lymph nodes that may have a little bit of cancer cells detected in them.”
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Transcript by Newsy.