Breast Cancer Patients with Very Small Tumors May Skip Lymph Node Biopsies, Study Suggests

Breast Cancer Patients with Very Small Tumors May Skip Lymph Node Biopsies, Study Suggests
Patients with very small, invasive breast tumors — called microinvasive breast carcinomas — may not benefit from lymph node biopsies, researchers from Allina Health suggest. The study, “Clinicopathologic analysis of a large series of microinvasive breast cancers,” shows that only 1.5% of breast cancer patients whose tumors measure 1 millimeter or less had cancer in their lymph nodes, suggesting that patients may skip standard lymph node biopsies, a procedure that is often linked to side effects. "These findings allow surgeons to select which patients with microinvasive tumors may actually benefit from lymph node sampling, while sparing other patients from this procedure," Tamera Lillemoe, MD, pathologist and the study's co-author, said in a press release. The study was supported by the Engelsma Family Foundation and Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation and appeared in The Breast Journal, the official journal of the National Consortium of Breast Cancers. Microinvasive breast carcinoma is a rare type of cancer that accounts for roughly 1 percent of all breast cancers. The American Joint Committee on Cancer Staging Manual
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