Study May Change Breast Cancer Treatment

Common removal of lymph nodes isn't necessary for many
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2011 4:58 PM CST
Study May Change Breast Cancer Treatment
File image of a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness.   (Shutter Stock)

A new study has the potential to make breast cancer treatment easier for a sizable number of women, the New York Times reports. The study says the removal of lymph nodes from the armpit—a common, painful procedure that carries side effects of its own—isn't necessary for about 20% of patients in early stages of the disease. "The discovery turns standard medical practice on its head," declares the Times.

“This is such a radical change in thought that it’s been hard for many people to get their heads around it,” says a doctor at Sloan-Kettering and an author of the study. The hospital has already changed its treatment procedures accordingly. The full study, published in the Journal of American Medicine, is here. (More breast cancer stories.)

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