Study: Small Breast Cancer Metastases May Not Affect Longevity

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the significance of small breast cancer metastases (less than 2 millimeters) is minimal compared to larger metastases.

Researchers from the University of Vermont randomly divided a group of over 5600 women into one of two procedural groups: sentinel-lymph-node biopsy plus axillary dissection, and sentinel-lymph-node biopsy alone.

A sentinel-lymph-node is the first lymph node or group of nodes likely to be reached by metastasizing cancer cells from a primary tumor. Sentinel-lymph-node biopsy plus axillary dissection can spot hidden, smaller metastases.

"If you had them, the [overall] survival was 94.6 percent; if not, 95.8. There's only a 1.2 percent difference between the two," study author Dr. Donald L. Weaver told HealthDay.

Weaver further noted that while the difference was significant from a statistical point of view, it was slight from a clinical point of view.

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