News / Health

    New Study Shows Less Surgery Better for Breast Cancer Patients

    Nurse Assisting Patient Undergoing Mammogram
    Nurse Assisting Patient Undergoing Mammogram

    When breast cancer has spread to a patient's lymph system, surgeons traditionally have operated to remove a large number of underarm lymph nodes, to eliminate any trace of the cancer. The procedure is effective, but it can cause permanent complications. Now, a new study shows there is no advantage to taking out so many lymph nodes, and the finding could mean major changes in breast cancer surgery.  

    When breast cancer spreads to nearby lymph nodes, doctors have two choices:  they can remove the main tumor and the one or two lymph nodes closest to it.  This is called sentinal node biopsy.  Or, they can go with a more aggressive approach and take out a large number of lymph nodes.

    The more aggressive approach can wipe out the cancer, but complications often include shoulder pain or permanent and painful swelling of the arm.  

    Dr. Armando Giuliano at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in the western state of California wanted to see if the cancer could be eliminated with less aggressive surgery.  "Removing fewer lymph nodes results in less pain, less morbidity,” he said. “It's an outpatient procedure."

    The more radical surgery requires a one- or two-day stay in a hospital, and results in greater post-operative pain.  

    Dr. Armando Giuliano
    Dr. Armando Giuliano
    So Bobbie Saunders was relieved when her doctor offered to perform the less radical procedure when she was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago.  "I had already experienced a lot of people that had been through the radical, so I was really excited that I was offered this," she stated.

    Dr. Giuliano and researchers at several top cancer centers in the U.S. studied nearly 900 patients whose breast cancer had spread to just one or two lymph nodes. Half had the more radical procedure while the others had the simpler surgery. Both groups had radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

    Bobbie Saunders
    Bobbie Saunders
    "The five-year survival [rate] was about 92 percent, regardless of which operation [they had]. And wonderfully, women who had the sentinal node biopsy alone did just as well as the women who had the more radical operation," Dr. Giuliano explains.

    Researchers say combining chemotherapy and radiation with the simpler surgery accounts for the high success rate of the less radical procedure.

    Some experts say the study is likely to change the way surgeons treat early-stage breast cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes. But other cancer specialists -- and their patients -- say they want more proof before changing the standard practice. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora