Do I Need An Axillary Node Dissection?

If tests show that cancer cells have spread to your axillary lymph nodes, there is a greater chance that cancer has also spread to other parts of your body. This is called metastasis. Finding positive lymph nodes (nodes that contain cancer cells) means that you may need more aggressive treatment than if your nodes were negative.

Deciding whether or not to remove lymph nodes for examination depends on the pathological analysis of lumps removed from your breast. Axillary node dissection is a way to see if your cancer has spread beyond your breast, and gives health care providers the best idea of how they can treat your cancer most effectively.

 © 1999 Michigan State University
Communication Technology Laboratory