Sina
Edition: CHINA ASIA USA EUROPE AFRICA
Home > HK
Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 19:29

Sentinel to check the spread of breast cancer

By Evelyn Yu in Hong Kong

Sentinel to check the spread of breast cancer
Dr Polly Cheung (right), chairman of Hong Kong Breast Cancer Registry Steering Committee, Dr Miranda Chan (left), member of Hong Kong Breast Cancer Registry Steering Committee, and Mrs Eliza Fok, chairman of Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation, released on Wednesday the seventh report of the Registry covering some 14,000 local breast cancer cases. (Provided to China Daily)

Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation released its latest report on Wednesday, saying increasing application of sentinel lymph node biopsy could help women in early stages of breast cancer avoid axillary lymph node dissection.

Dr Miranda Chan, member of Breast Cancer Registry Steering Committee, said during Wednesday’s conference while conventional surgery helps remove tumors as well as lymph nodes under an arm or close to one's breasts, preventing cancerous cells from spreading out via the lymph system; a sentinel lymph nodes biopsy can indicate that the breast cancer has not spread in the remaining lymph nodes. Such detection can help avoid unnecessary removal of under-arm lymph nodes.

The side effect of the traditional allixary lymph nodes dissection is detrimental. With fewer lymph nodes, the lymphatic drainage system is inadequate to circulate the lymph fluid in the soft tissues of the upper arm. This might lead to lymphoedema in the upper arm.

Sentinel to check the spread of breast cancer
Two breast cancer survivors (left) shared their recovery experiences, after receiving the Lymphoedema Care Service at Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation. (Provided to China Daily)

Two female patients who suffered such side effects due to axillary lymph node dissections shared how the swollen arms slowed them down both at home and work. The sentinel lymph node biopsy surgery is less invasive and reduces the need to remove lymph nodes in the under arm.

Latest statistics from Hong Kong Cancer Registry showed that in 2012 a whopping 25.8 percent of Hong Kong women cancer patients suffered from breast cancer — the variety of cancer most women patients in Hong Kong tend to get over the years.

Dr Polly Cheung, founder of Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation, said while medical causes of breast cancer remain unknown, studies point towards a number of factors that increase the risk of getting the disease. The top four among these are: lack of physical exercise, no breastfeeding, high level of stress and overweight.

Based on data from some 14,000 local breast cancer cases, the report shows 88 percent patients are 40 and above; 77 percent exercised less than three hours a week; 66 percent haven’t breastfed their babies.

Cheung urged women to modify their lifestyle, breastfeed for at least six months, and have themselves examined regularly to bring down the risk to the minimum.

evelyn@chinadailyhk.com

Sentinel to check the spread of breast cancer
Swelling and discomfort caused by underarm lymph nodes removal has a negative impact on patients' everyday life. (Provided to China Daily)

Latest News