I don't want to lose all my lymph nodes!
They never biopsy every single node. What they do these days is biopsy the first node, or maybe up to the first three nodes the cancer would have most likely spread to, and depending on this result, and other factors as well, they either remove all, or some, or no nodes at all.
I suspect that in your case it is the swelling that makes your doctor want to be safe.
It is also not really true as once believed that when you only have one node removed, or a few dissected vs. all of them removed, that the risk of developing lymphedema is higher in proportion how many nodes were cleared out.
I think one of the more important things one can do is do Physical Therapy after surgery, and/or a lot to help prevent problems. Of course the surgeon's expertise/experience, and your individual make up, are also factors.
What I am trying to say is that it's not all clear cut.
My PT (Physical Therapist told me that the worst case of lymphedema she has seen was in a woman who had only one node removed.)
Another factor has to do with the experience of the surgeon in habing done many, many sentinal node biopsies and knows what he/she is doing.
If it was me, I would rather have them all taken out then only a couple by an inexperienced surgeon, and which can backfire.
I personally had all lymphnodes removed as this was nesessary and although I had problems of various sorts with my right arm, these troubles have long resolved themselves and are no longer an issue.
Hope this helps a little, KAT Read More At : ...