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Breast Cancer – Diagnosis

February 1, 2021


“So you have an initial diagnosis of breast cancer and you need to investigate kind of what the stage is and what we’re looking at, right? You have a tumor size on your breast that’s usually found by mammogram and then you undergo a biopsy. And that biopsy looks at a piece of the breast cancer tumor. Where you get your most information is during what we call a lumpectomy. So the lumpectomy is all of the cancer, ideally, and tissue around it that’s free of cancer and they take a lump out of your breast. The term you’re going to hear is a Sentinel lymph node. And what that is, right around the tumor, they’ll inject some, basically some like coloring that will drain on the highway, which is the lymph system, the lymph system is basically a big highway to return fluid to your heart.

The first lymph node, or tube, where that breast mass or cancer area drain to, they’re going to take those and look at them. And if the Sentinel nodes have cancer in them, it’s going to dictate your management in one way then if they’re negative. If they’re negative, sometimes what we’ll do, if your cancer is hormone positive, you’ll get a score and it’s an Oncotype score. And then Oncotype has basically looked at a ton of hormone positive breast cancers and sees what characteristics and qualities it has to make it more likely to recur or less likely to recur based on chemotherapy. So basically it says, does the chemotherapy help or not help or benefit decreasing the chance of recurrence. So in hormone positive breast cancer, if your sentinel nodes are negative especially, and it’s, you know, somewhere between half or a centimeter in size or larger, your oncologist is going to talk to you about getting that score to see if you’ll have benefit with chemotherapy.”

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