Your lymphatic system — the system responsible for carrying the white blood cells that fight infection — is a major route by which cancer cells can spread throughout your body.
At the Magee-Womens Gynecologic Cancer Program, we use sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping to determine if cancer cells have spread to your lymph nodes.
A surgeon performs an SLN biopsy — a minimally invasive procedure — to remove the main (sentinel) lymph nodes to test for cancer.
During your SLN biopsy, your surgeon:
|If cancer cells are...||Then you...|
|Not detected in the SLN,||Will not need further surgery on the lymph nodes.|
|Detected in the SLN,||May need a full axillary lymph node dissection. In some cases, removal of additional lymph nodes may not be necessary.|