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Staging

When cancer is diagnosed, physicians must determine the stage or extent of the disease so they can prescribe the most effective treatment. Sometimes lymph nodes are removed to determine if the cancer has spread.

Sentinel node mapping is a sophisticated procedure during which the sentinel node (the first lymph node to which breast cancer is likely to spread) is removed and tested. This technique spares the other nodes and reduces the risk of long-term complications and discomfort of lympehedema, a condition where excess lymph fluid collects in tissues and causes swelling.