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Dr. Newman on Advances in Axillary Surgery in Breast Cancer

Lisa A. Newman, MD, director, Breast Oncology Program, Henry Ford Cancer Institute, discusses advances in axillary surgery for the treatment of patients with node-positive breast cancer.

Lisa A. Newman, MD, director, Breast Oncology Program, Henry Ford Cancer Institute, discusses advances in axillary surgery for the treatment of patients with node-positive breast cancer.

One of the ways that surgeons can narrow down the extent of axillary surgery that patients need following neoadjuvant chemotherapy is called targeted axillary dissection. This is an enhanced way of doing a sentinel lymph node biopsy. Many patients who receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy are receiving that chemotherapy because they have been found to have node-positive disease.

In the past, all patients with node-positive breast cancer who had metastatic disease in the axilla were recommended to undergo a full axillary lymph node dissection, which has a lot of long-term side effects, notes Newman. With targeted axillary dissection following chemotherapy in node-positive disease, surgeons are able to perform a sentinel lymph node biopsy and radiographic evaluation of the lymph node tissue to make sure that the originally metastatic lymph node has been excised.

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