Deciding whether to do a Lymph Node Biopsy

Before deciding to do a lymph node biopsy know the facts.    There is increasing evidence that removing lymph nodes to simple stage the cancer serve no major benefit other than put you at risk for life-altering lymphedema.     Read this article for more information:

The biopsy on my tumor was positive for cancer. My doctor has
recommended a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) or sentinel lymph
node dissection (SNLD) to see if the cancer has spread.  How invasive
is this procedure?

According to the veterans in the online discussion group, whether to have
the lymph nodes tested was one of the most important, life-altering decisions
they made. One of the major reasons for setting up the Breast Cancer Choices
website was the suffering of members who had some or all of their axillary
nodes removed.

They wanted other women warned that they could be handicapped for life
by nerve-severing, lymphedema, or phlebitis. The lymph node dissection
procedure has resulted in some women’s inability to pick up children, trouble
carrying groceries, arm weakness and swelling as well as numbness and limited
range of motion. At least two of our members had nerves severed.

LYMPH NODE DISABILITIES ARE NOT CURABLE. The lymph node dissection is done
as a diagnostic, not a therapeutic procedure. However, many surgeons still believe
removing cancerous nodes is therapeutic despite the evidence.

Even though the sentinel lymph node biopsy is a more limited procedure than a full
axillary dissection of the nodes, you may nonetheless be required in advance to
grant your surgeon permission to remove other nodes if the sentinel node is
cancerous. The complication rate for sentinel node biopsy, including reactions to the
radioactive dye, must also be considered. See additional articles if you are
considering this procedure.

The decision to give permission to dissect the lymph nodes is a major one.  Ask your
surgeon why you need your lymph nodes tested.  The answer will probably be one of
the following: “It’s standard procedure, “We need to stage you.” “If there is cancer in
the nodes we will remove it.”

All of the above statements are true. Most patients get this procedure done because
it is the standard package and they don’t question whether it will improve their odds
of survival., But staging via the lymph node evaluation may have no value to the
patient if she is going to pursue conventional or alternative treatments aggressively


Looking back on this topic for myself I wish I had chosen NOT to do this biopsy. In retrospect I would have not done it but would have taken it seriously and proceeded with the alternative healing. I think I was hoping that the nodes were clean, then refuse radiation and then everyone would let me be. I didn’t want to take it seriously. I am grateful for the surgery in that it did make me take action and heal my body. My body needed healing. If the nodes were clean my body would still be in disrepair and I am sure that I would have had cancer pop up again. The haunt of the cancer would never have been gone.

Had I known what I know now I would have spared myself and proceeded on the same healing path that I eventually chose. I know this would never have happened for me but my wisdom may help you as you read this article. We want nothing than to be told that the cancer has been removed and we are okay. The fact is, however, if our body has had cancer and the problem has not been remedied – we still have cancer. We need to take it seriously no matter how advanced or minor it is.

I had two node removed and my arm definitely misses them. I am a sensitive person and I feel like my body is upset that they are gone. My nodes seemed stressed and over-react when I am sick or healing. My arm is sore and hard to raise completely. I continue to work on healing this even 3 years later. I don’t have reason for alarm as nothing has come up on a recent thermogram and my nutrition check-ups show no major concerns.

So my advice to you is to think twice before undergoing the lymph node biopsy. It has been shown that it does not aid in healing but is the only method they have to stage the cancer. If you are not going to follow Standard of Care the staging really wasn’t important. It is simply a useless surgery and removal of vital fighters in your body. These organs you can never get back. If your body is sensitive you will feel the loss for the rest of your life.

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