A new approach to treating the axilla in women with early breast cancer has considerably less morbidity than the current approach, investigators reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
In the trial -- After Mapping of the Axilla: Radiotherapy or Surgery? (AMAROS) -- women with early breast cancer were randomized roughly evenly to the current standard of surgical axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) or to axillary radiation therapy. Each participant had a positive sentinel node but clinically negative axillary nodes.
After 5 years of follow-up, the groups had a similarly low rates of cancer recurrence in the axilla of roughly 1%. However, the radiation therapy group was half as likely as the ALND group to develop lymphedema.
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