Don#t have your lymph nodes taken out! – Say no to lymphadenectomy
Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on February 22, 2011
There’s a lot of cancer related information on this site – do browse – this supports and extends the info in my two books – see www.fightingcancer.com for details
Lymph Node dissection ‘not beneficial’ – says important study
When surgeons remove lumps from breasts, it is standard practice to remove any lymph nodes that appear to have cancer cells in them. But this practice has recently been shown to be not only useless but creates additional unneccessary problems for patients. However, habit may very well be stronger than science and surgeons will no doubt continue taking out lymph nodes – perhaps while they wait for another study to confirm these findings.
The trial organised American College of Surgeons Oncology Group , published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (Feb 2011), was conducted at 115 medical centers and included 891 women. The median age was in the mid-50s, and the participants were followed for a median of 6.3 years. After an initial node biopsy, women were randomly assigned to have 10 or more additional nodes removed or to leave the nodes alone. There was no difference in survival or recurrence between the two groups. According to the authors of the study Dr. Grant Walter Carlson and Dr. William C. Wood, the study “definitively showed that axillary lymph node dissection is not beneficial…Survival was independent of lymph node status”.
One of the authors of the study goes on to say: “This is such a radical change in thought that it’s been hard for many people to get their heads around it,”
The author of an editorial accompanying the study, Dr. Grant W. Carlson, said: “I have a feeling we’ve been doing a lot of harm (by routinely taking out many nodes).”
One of the findings supporting this view is that women in the study who had nodes taken out were far more likely to have complications (70 percent versus 25 percent). These complications included infections, abnormal sensations and fluid collecting in the armpit, and lymphedema.
Dr. Armando E. Giuliano, the lead author of the study and the chief of surgical oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, reported that the standard practice of lymph node removal has been so ingrained that “some prominent institutions wouldn’t even take part in (the study).”
Note: The Cancer Survivor’s Bible (2012) is now available – see www.fightingcancer.com
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