I'm not sure which 'forum' this question goes on. Several folks reported in different places that individual cancer cells were found in their lymph nodes that reportedly came from their biopsies. They implied that these micromets were not significant to their treatment, per their docs.
Is it a known thing that biopsies send loose cancer cells into the lymph system? I asked my BS and she told me that cells might move out of the tumor but that they wouldn't have the genetic changes that cause metastasis. She said we all have such cells floating around our bodies all the time. Few grow into cancer. Her response fits with what several posts implied: that those micromets are of no concern. I realize that the traditional way of analyzing lymph nodes is to call them negative in this scenario.
Do biopsies regularly or often dislodge cancer cells and send them into circulation outside the tumor?
If so, it troubles me because it took so long to schedule my surgery -- from late February biopsy to April 26. (IDC, Grade 2, ER+, PR+, HER2-)
The idea that these micromets are insignificant differs from what we learned when my then- 25-year-old daughter had micrometastasis of melanoma found by sentinel lymph node mapping in 1998. She had to undergo a terrible year of treatment with alpha-interferon. What we understood at the time was that finding the micromets by careful pathology saved her life; that micromets like these had been missed for the preceding 100 years -- perhaps explaining why melanoma was so often fatal, even when lymph nodes were thought to be clear. As explained to us then, they used to cut the lymph node in half and examine it. But it was like looking for a grape in a loaf of bread. So the idea of examining the sentinel lymph node was to slice up the loaf of bread and look for the grapes. The micrometastasis.
Are there many people who found micromets in the sentinel node who did fine without chemo?
If you had micromets, what did your medical oncologist recommend for you next?
Have any of you who had micromets attributed to the biopsy also had to have chemo?
Have any of you with micromets in the sentinel lymph node subsequently developed metastatic disease?
If there is some thread where a newbie can learn about this I would appreciate being steered to it. My site searches did not yield any results.
Thank you for any light you can shed.
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