Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  42 / 88 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 42 / 88 Next Page
Page Background


NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)

Version 1.2017



What to expect

to recheck the nodes may be an option. If cancer is

present, you would receive an axillary lymph node


Some women with T3, N1, M0 cancers may not

need lymph node surgery. Surgery wouldn’t likely be

helpful. Such women include those with slow-growing

cancer, set plans for adjuvant treatment, who are

older in age, or those with major health problems

other than breast cancer.

What to expect

Your treatment team will tell you how to prepare

for surgery. Briefly, you will be asked to stop eating

and drinking. You may need to stop taking some

medicines for a short period of time. If you smoke, it

is important to stop to get the best treatment results.

Some details about surgery and side effects are

described next. Ask your treatment team for more



The cancer may be small or hard to feel. In this case,

your surgeon may request a localization procedure

before surgery. This procedure uses a mammogram

or ultrasound to find the cancer. Next, a marker is

placed. The marker allows your surgeon to more

easily find the cancer.

A lumpectomy may take up to 60 minutes. A cut

on the breast is made large enough to remove the

cancer area. Pain is prevented with either local or

general anesthesia.

A lumpectomy will leave a small scar. It may cause

some pain and swelling for about a week. There may

be a dent in your breast that can be fixed with breast



A total mastectomy is finished within 1 to 2 hours.

An oval-shaped cut is often first made around the

areola. Next, the breast tissue will be detached from

the skin and muscle and then removed. For breast

reconstruction that

is planned, your surgeon will try to

save some of the breast skin. Pain is prevented with

general anesthesia.

A plastic drain tube is often placed under the skin. It

will remain for 2 or 3 weeks while you heal. Then, it

will be removed.

A total mastectomy will leave a large scar. It

also will cause pain and swelling. You may have

stiffness, tiredness despite sleeping (fatigue), and

uncomfortable crawly sensations as your nerves


Sentinel lymph node biopsy

A radioactive tracer, blue dye, or both will be injected

into your breast. The tracer and dye will drain into

lymph vessels within your breast. Then, they will

travel to the breast’s lymph nodes. These nodes are

usually in the armpit.

The dye will mark the sentinel node(s). Often, there

is more than one. If you will have a lumpectomy, the

nodes will be removed through a second cut near

the breast. If you will have a mastectomy, the nodes

may be removed through the cut made to remove the

breast. Sometimes, some other nearby nodes are

removed, too.

Some side effects of sentinel dissection are

lymphedema, numbness, and pain. Lymphedema

is swelling of the arm due to buildup of lymph. It

may not go away. Most women find lymphedema

bothersome but not disabling. There is no way to

know who will have it or when it will occur. Ask your

treatment team for a full list of side effects.