Axillary Dissection

Kevin R. Fox, MD
Last Modified: October 27, 2002

Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
When one of the lymph nodes is positive out of four that have been removed, is a full axillary dissection always recommended? I have a positive node by sentinel lymph node biopsy, but no one has suggested that I need a full axillary dissection.  

Answer

Kevin R. Fox, MD, Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

The current standard recommendation is a full axillary dissection for all patients with a positive sentinel lymph node biopsy. You should discuss this with your physicians or seek a second opinion if you are not comfortable with their response.

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