The Willis-Knighton Cancer Center has completed a study of patients diagnosed with breast cancer who had lymph node involvement on a sentinel lymph node biopsy. These patients often have a higher risk of cancer recurrence and should be treated more aggressively than a patient without lymph node involvement. According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), any patient with a positive sentinel lymph node biopsy should be treated either with removal of or radiation therapy to the remaining lymph nodes.
In 2011, 51 patients were diagnosed with breast cancer involving at least one sentinel lymph node. Of these 51 patients, 36 received radiation therapy and 40 chose to have surgery to remove the remaining lymph nodes. In total, 50 of 51 patients received one or both treatments to their remaining lymph nodes, for a compliance rate of 98%. The remaining 2% failed to meet the study requirements due to other health concerns that prohibited any further breast cancer treatment.
Adhering to accepted national standards and comparing performance to those standards is just one of the many ways that the Willis-Knighton Cancer Center strives to provide excellence in treatment, not just for breast cancer but for all types of cancer.