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Local and regional lymphatic metastases of breast cancer and melanoma

In case of breast cancer and melanoma metastases are determined with the help of the sentinel lymph node. Isotope is injected into the skin above and around the tumor which then travels to the first, so-called sentinel lymph node through the lymphatic vessels. After this the sentinel lymph node is removed by a surgeon and sent to histological examination.

Examination of the sentinel lymph node is extremely important in case of breast cancer, as if the sentinel lymph node is free of cancer cells, removal of the axillar lymph nodes is usually not necessary. This way several postoperative difficulty and complication, for example lymphatic edema of the upper limb, limited movements, sensational disorders, can be prevented.

Examination of the exceptional lymph node is also used in case of melanoma, a skin cancer type that occasionally has very sad prognosis. If there is a metastasis detected in the sentinel lymph node, all the "belonging" lymph nodes have to be removed (block dissection), because from the results it can be assumed that there are cancer cells in the neighboring lymph nodes as well. If the sentinel lymph node is clear, lymph nodes of the given region can probably be spared this time as well.

In case of metastatic sentinel lymph node and for detection of distant lymphatic metastasis, FDG PET-CT is recommended.



Lymph node, lymph duct scintigraphy, SPECT-CT