Tomorrow I meet with the anesthesiologist and the nuclear medicine clinic for preoperative consultation and procedures. The nuclear medicine clinic will inject a dye to help the doctor locate the sentinel node. The sentinel node is called the "gate keeper" of the lymph nodes and is considered the best place to check to see if the cancer has spread beyond the breast area. I have copied a short piece about the sentinel node below.
* A sentinel lymph node (SLN) is the first lymph node(s) to which cancer cells are likely to spread from the primary tumor. Cancer cells may appear in the sentinel node before spreading to other lymph nodes.
* SLN biopsy can be used to help determine the extent or stage of cancer.
* Because SLN biopsy involves the removal of fewer lymph nodes than standard lymph node removal procedures, the potential for side effects is lower.
I still don't have the pathology reports on two other tests that have been performed from the biopsy. These, as well as the report on the SLN, will determine the stage of the cancer and the treatment plan after surgery.