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Aug 20, 2020 02:09PM
Hi StartNew, I too had a failed sentinal node biopsy in 2003. Be glad your doctor just took one node! My doctor NEVER told me a failed SNB could occur. Because it failed, I had the entire fat pad removed, 24 nodes and instant severe lymphedema in my left arm! I have been disfigured and deformed ever since! It was made worse now that I am have Medicare Advantage, which will not pay for things Medicare won't pay for, Lyphedema garments to name one!
The thing is, you won't know, but even if they took all the nodes in the fat pad under your arm, you still wouldn't know. My MO told me this at the time, which is another reason he did chemo. (no OncotypeDX in 2003) With a sentinal node biopsie, they slice it very thin, looking at the whole node. When a lotof nodes are taken, in my case 24, they only cut in half and it is still possible that there is cancer in the node somewhere. Things really got complicated for me when I got ILC in the same breast and had mastectomy in 2019. No nodes were taken since the pad was taken out before. I don't think they even take the fat pad any more. Even with a failed SNB, they only take a few nodes, which is better for women.
Your age, OncotypeDx score, grade, etc are better indicators of how you will be treated for your cancer. Node + or neg. really wouldn't make a difference. Notice that even women who had 3/4 nodes positive don't go back to have them all removed. Nodes are just one indication of how you should be treated.
Seriously, be glad you only had one removed! I wish that is all I had removed in 2003! More isn't better!
6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+
12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)