Breast Cancer

Most patients with breast cancer are candidates for Breast Conservation Surgery

The patient is 62 year-old patient who felt a lump in her right breast and an ultrasound, mammogram and needle biopsy confirmed breast cancer.  The patient successfully underwent removal of the breast cancer while preserving the breast Breast Conservation Surgery (BCS) and Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy (SLNB) avoiding the complications of a complete axillary lymph node arm swelling (lymphedema), numbness and shoulder weakness.  The patient underwent curative treatment for breast cancer and the final cosmetic outcome confirmed preservation of the breast contour and symmetry.

All women diagnosed with breast cancer should be considered for Breast Conservation Surgery avoiding a total mastectomy.

MAMMOGRAM shows an irregular mass in the left breast suspicious for cancer (arrow)

MAMMOGRAM, magnification view, shows an irregular mass with white specks of microcalcifications highly suspicious for cancer

BREAST CONSERVATION SURGERY- the breast cancer was removed through the lower incision and sentinel lymph node biopsy was performed through the upper incision with an excellent cosmetic outcome

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

What is a sentinel lymph node?

A sentinel lymph node is defined as the first lymph node to which cancer cells are most likely to spread from a primary tumor. Sometimes, there can be more than one sentinel lymph node.

What is a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB)?

A sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is a procedure in which the sentinel lymph node is identified, removed, and examined to determine whether cancer cells are present.

What are the benefits of SLNB?

SLNB avoids more extensive lymph node surgery. The complications of extensive lymph node surgery are-

Lymphedema or swelling of the arm
Seroma or the buildup of fluid at the site of the surgery
Numbness, tingling, or pain of the arm
Shoulder weakness

Breast cancer in the lymph nodes. Courtesy Dr. Lance Liotta Laboratory.

LYMPHOSCINTIGRAM- Arrows depicts the single sentinel lymph node located in the left axilla

The blue and hot sentinel lymph node (black arrow) with the draining blue lymphatic (yellow arrow)

Presence of blue dye and high radioactive counts confirm accurate identification of the SENTINEL LYMPH NODE

Screening Mammography

All women should have yearly mammograms starting at the age of 40 years

Mammogram shows a spiculated lesion in both breasts suggestive of bilateral breast cancer

Women who have routine mammograms have 25% less chances of dying from breast cancer than women who do not have mammograms

Advances in surgery for breast cancer: Less aggressive surgery and equivalent survival