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Dr. King Discusses Axillary Node Dissection in Breast Cancer

Tari King, MD, FACS, chief of Breast Surgery, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham Women’s Cancer Center, discusses axillary node dissection in patients with breast cancer.

Tari King, MD, FACS, chief of Breast Surgery, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham Women’s Cancer Center, discusses axillary node dissection in patients with breast cancer.

Upfront chemotherapy is being used more often, specifically in patients who have known cancer in the lymph nodes, King says. Chemotherapy is being used before surgery in an effort to eradicate the disease in the lymph nodes. Many of these women are offered sentinel node biopsies, but the technique must be adequate in order to determine whether the node is clean.

King says that with the sentinel node procedure, the field is working toward identifying patients with breast cancer who do not need axillary node dissection. King says that patients who start out with clinically evident biopsy-proven nodal disease who receive chemotherapy upfront may require an axillary node dissection.

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