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CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Oct 10, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill researchers suggest altering procedures involved in breast cancer can improve the process for women.
The scientists say altering the steps that take women facing a mastectomy from diagnosis to surgery to reconstruction can improve the process and help determine if immediate reconstruction is the best course of action.
Key to the new approach is the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy performed as an outpatient procedure a week or so prior to mastectomy.
SLNB involves the removal of some of the first "sentinel" lymph nodes into which cancerous cells from the breast might drain. Studies have shown SLNB can be effective in determining the spread of disease to the lymph nodes.
"If the pathologist does not see tumor in the lymph node on frozen section, there is still a chance that tumor may be found in the lymph nodes on final pathology," said lead study author Dr. Nancy Klauber-DeMore, an assistant professor of surgery. "There can be major consequences for a patient who has undergone immediate breast reconstruction if a metastasis is found on permanent section that was not recognized on frozen section."
The study appears in the American Journal of Surgery.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International