Within the last two years, surgeons have developed a surgical technique to identify specific lymph nodes draining the area of the breast where cancer began. These lymph nodes can be precisely identified and removed by an injection of a radioactive tracer and a blue dye in the area of the cancer just before surgery. These lymph nodes bear a great deal of prognostic significance, but until now were difficult to locate. The lymph nodes located with this cutting-edge technique undergo extra testing to determine the stage of the cancer with the highest possible accuracy.
This staging process helps determine the likelihood that an individual's cancer cells have spread and allows our team of physicians to develop the most accurate recommendations for treatment. In some cases, sentinel lymph node removal will suffice for standard partial axillary lymph node removal. This very new and exciting procedure is available through our breast surgeons and integrated into our team approach with our radiologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists.