Lymph node status

LaneLane BrisbaneMember Posts: 25
edited October 2019 in Newly diagnosed
I was just wondering how cancer in lymph nodes is detected before surgery. Some women already seem to know their lymph node status before their operation. Was this diagnosed through ultrasound, mammogram, MRI or pet scan? All of these tests suggest my lymph nodes seem ok, but the surgeon tells me a substantial number will have to be removed in the operation anyway. (I am currently undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy.)


  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 2,691
    I knew I had 8 or 9 suss looking ( very enlarged) lymph nodes through an ultrasound - the biopsied one was malignant, so 17 went when I had my mastectomy. As it turned out, the biopsied one was the only malignant one, but I still think it was a reasonable call to take more, on the evidence to hand. But it’s reasonable to ask why lymph nodes will be removed if there is no evidence of any cancer spread? Loss of a significant number of lymph nodes places you at risk of lymphoedema.  Not the end of the world (mine is manageable and causes few problems) but no-one needs it without a good reason. Best wishes. 
  • LaneLane BrisbaneMember Posts: 25
    Thanks for the info.
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,955

    This link is from the BCNA website
     An overview of surgeries including lymph nodes 

    Hope it helps 
    Take care
  • LaneLane BrisbaneMember Posts: 25
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,457
    Mine showed clear on the ultrasound and CT scan but sentinel node biopsy at surgery showed that 1 was cancerous with 2 others showing signs.  I ended up having a further 5 out during second surgery but they were clear.
  • LaneLane BrisbaneMember Posts: 25
  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,352
    Hi @Lane

    I originally found a lump under my arm by pure accident and a bit of luck it seems.  Ultra sound confirmed it looked suspect so it was biopsied. I had a level two axillary clearance with 24 nodes removed 5 of which turned out to be cranky ones.  Get clarification as to what they are taking and why.  It may just be the sentinal node and a couple of others just to check them.
    All the best lovely.
  • LaneLane BrisbaneMember Posts: 25
    Thanks for the advice, Kezmusc 
  • GlynnisGlynnis Member Posts: 290
    @Lane I originally got told no lymph node involve ment, they took the sentinel node plus 2 others all full of cancer, when I had the rest removed they took out 21 and all but 1 were full of cancer that was in 2015, fast forward to now and I'm now metastatic 
  • LaneLane BrisbaneMember Posts: 25
    Very sorry to hear that Glynis. Hope you are feeling ok. I haven't been told anything about my lymph nodes by doctors. I just read the MRI and scan reports (after I asked for copies of them). Thanks for responding.
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,259
    They had a good feel of mine beforehand and I had a mri beforehand to see if needing more than a sentinel node on one side (as had both breasts off )
  • LaneLane BrisbaneMember Posts: 25
    Thanks, Primek. Was your MRI accurate at detecting your lymph node status? i. e. Were the number of affected nodes, as shown in MRI,  similar to what was discovered during surgery?
  • lrb_03lrb_03 Member Posts: 1,171
    Hi @Lane, my only symptom was discomfort under my arm, which led to me finding a small lump there. GP sent me for mammogram,  USS +/- FNA if indicated. This all located my tumour - core biopsies, and suspicious nodes - FNA of one indicated node positive.  I, too had neoadjuvant chemo, then lumpectomy, node clearance, followed by radiotherapy. 4 years ago, I had just finished chemo. 
    Hope you're going ok with chemo
  • MahaicaMahaica Member Posts: 23
    I was told my nodes were clear but after surgery my  sentinel node came back positive so I had a second operation to remove 9 nodes and there were are clear. It is difficult sometimes with MRI I told at the beginning no nodes and no chemotherapy now I am undergoing chemotherapy
  • LaneLane BrisbaneMember Posts: 25
    Thanks @Irb_03. I’m into my second cycle of chemo and so far having no problems. Much milder than I thought. I have four cycles all up, finishing in December. Maybe it gets worse as time goes on? In some ways, I would have preferred to have op first, just to have the cancer cut out. It would have been easier to deal with psychologically, I think, but doctors know best of course. (Chemo first seemed to work well for you.)  Thanks for your reply.
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