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Sentinel node biopsy is a surgical procedure used to determine if cancer has spread beyond a primary tumor into your lymphatic system. A sentinel lymph node is defined as the first lymph node to which cancer cells are most likely to spread from a primary tumor.
Sentinel node biopsy involves injecting a tracer material that helps the surgeon locate the sentinel nodes during surgery. The sentinel nodes are removed and analyzed in a laboratory by a pathologist. If the sentinel nodes are free of cancer, then cancer isn't likely to have spread and removing additional lymph nodes is unnecessary.
In the same way that no two people are exactly alike, it can also be said that no two breast cancers are the same. Tumors and cancer cells are individual and one patient’s side effects to treatment will likewise be different than someone else’s side effects. All of this seems logical and yet, until recently, cancer treatment has been ministered to all patients and all cancers in virtually the same way, utilizing a blanket pallet of treatments. With recent advancements in research, genetic and diagnostic testing however, this precedence is changing and we are seeing a more targeted, specific and personal approach to cancer treatment and prevention. This is the evolving world of Personalized Breast Care.
The statistics can be overwhelming -- one in eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Knowing your odds, being informed and understanding how your genetics, your lifestyle choices and family history play a part in your risk of having cancer, can be one of your strongest weapons in confronting the disease. With current advancements in cancer research, physicians have a battery of tests to offer women that estimate individual risk of developing breast cancer. These models examine personal, medical, and familial history. Some evaluate the risk of a genetic mutation, like BRCA1 or BRCA2, while others look at exposure to endogenous hormones or benign breast disease.
After you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and you and your doctor have decided upon a treatment plan that involves surgery, whether that is a lumpectomy, partial, or radical mastectomy, it is not uncommon to wonder how this might change your physical appearance. Fortunately, one of the newest breakthroughs in breast cancer surgery is a procedure called Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery. This procedure offers an advanced approach in which breast surgeons remove cancerous tissue through a single incision made in inconspicuous areas to minimize visible scarring while also preserving the shape, texture and appearance of the breast(s).