Why are Lymph Nodes important?
Source: breastcancer.org – a non-profit organisation, USA June 26, 2004 One main lymph node area (the armpit, or “axilla”) and two secondary lymph node areas (the internal mammary and supraclavicular regions) filter the lymph fluid draining away from the breast area. Since the job of the lymph nodes is to filter out “bad guys” like cancer cells, this is a logical place to look for breast cancer cells that have escaped the original tumor and are trying to go elsewhere in the body. Cancer cells may also leave the breast through the bloodstream and bypass the lymph nodes. However, the presence (“node-positive”) or absence (“node-negative”) of cancer in the lymph nodes is one of the most important signposts your doctor will use to determine the best treatment for you. Another purpose of lymph node dissection is to remove cancer that might be in the nodes. This is done, so that the cancer can’t grow further in the lymph node area or shed cells that could go elsewhere. Doctors once believed