New research casts doubt on breast cancer treatment

11 February 2011

New research from the US has cast doubt on the efficacy of removing cancerous lymph nodes as a means of treating breast cancer.

According to the scientists behind the new research, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who receive an early stage breast cancer diagnosis are often treated with lymph node removal, but this form of treatment has no impact upon survival rates.

Commenting on the new research, Professor Ian Ellis, from the University of Nottingham, told the BBC that the study was a powerful piece of research that could end up changing the practice of breast cancer treatment around the globe.

"This shows centres doing less aggressive therapy were correct in their approach," he noted.

Professor Ellis also described the randomised trial, which was conducted between 1999 and 2004 and involved 891 breast cancer patients, as a thorough study carried out in an "exemplary" manner.

1 Giuliano, Armando et al. "Axillary Dissection vs No Axillary Dissection in Women With Invasive Breast Cancer and Sentinel Node Metastasis". The Journal of the American Medical Association. Wednesday, February 9th 2011. 

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