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November 2015

Staging the Axilla in Early Breast Cancer: Will Imaging Replace Surgery?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Breast Surgery, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy
  • 2Scientific Directorate, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy
JAMA Oncol. 2015;1(8):1031-1032. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.2337

In the not-so-distant past, removing axillary nodes seemed unavoidable to surgeons who dealt with breast cancer. As physicians and surgeons, we learned that when you excised a cancer in the breast, it was also necessary to remove lymph nodes from the axilla—either all or some—or maybe just 1—but axillary nodes had to go. This attitude derived from the historically later presentation of breast cancer, when overt spreading to the axillary nodes was almost always present. From that time on, breast and axillary surgery became almost indivisibly wed.

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