Recent studies have shown that women with early stage breast cancer may benefit from adjuvant (additional) therapy following primary treatment (mastectomy or lumpectomywith radiation therapy). These studies indicate that many breast cancer patients whose underarm lymph nodes show no signs of cancer (known as node negative) may benefit from chemotherapy or hormonal therapy after primary treatment.
The use of chemotherapy in node negative patients will be determined by your age at diagnosis, stage of the cancer, tumor markers, tumor biology and future risk of systemic recurrence. (These findings do not apply to women with pre-invasive or in-situ breast cancer).Until now, women whose underarm lymph nodes were free of cancer usually received no additional therapy because they have a relatively good chance of surviving the disease after primary treatment. However, scientists know that cancer may return in about 30% of these women. Adjuvant therapy can potentially prevent or delay the return of cancer.