Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lymph node ultrasounds more accurate in obese breast cancer patients

Date:
April 30, 2014
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
Research into whether ultrasounds to detect breast cancer in underarm lymph nodes are less effective in obese women has produced a surprising finding. Fat didn’t obscure the images — and ultrasounds showing no suspicious lymph nodes actually proved more accurate in overweight and obese patients than in women with a normal body mass index, the study found.

Fat didn’t obscure the ultrasound images — and ultrasounds showing no suspicious lymph nodes actually proved more accurate in overweight and obese patients than in women with a normal body mass index, the study found.
Credit: Image courtesy of Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic research into whether ultrasounds to detect breast cancer in underarm lymph nodes are less effective in obese women has produced a surprising finding. Fat didn't obscure the images -- and ultrasounds showing no suspicious lymph nodes actually proved more accurate in overweight and obese patients than in women with a normal body mass index, the study found. The research is among several Mayo studies presented at the American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting April 30-May 4 in Las Vegas.

Researchers studied 1,331 breast cancer patients who received ultrasounds of their axillary lymph nodes, the lymph nodes in the armpits, to check for cancer before surgery. Of those patients, 36 percent were considered obese, with a body mass index of 30 or more. Body mass index is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. Of the other women studied, 33 percent were of normal weight and 31 percent were overweight but not obese.

Obesity can change lymph nodes, including the way they look in imaging studies, and make physical examination of underarm lymph nodes more challenging. The Mayo study found that higher body weight didn't muddy ultrasounds of the axillary lymph nodes in overweight or obese cancer patients, and that their ultrasounds had better specificity and accuracy than those of thinner women, meaning that when ultrasound showed no suspicious lymph nodes, it was likelier to be correct.

"I think we were surprised at these results," says senior author Tina Hieken, M.D., a breast cancer surgeon at Mayo Clinic. ``It should be very reassuring that regardless of the weight of the patient, axillary ultrasound is helpful."

Potential reasons for the findings, Dr. Hieken speculates: Soft fatty tissue can be compressed during ultrasounds, and physicians now have more experience in knowing what lymph nodes may look like in overweight and obese patients. In some thin patients, ultrasounds may not yield as much information because underarm lymph nodes can be so close to the surface, it may be difficult to get good images, she says.

Surgeons do not rely on ultrasound alone to determine whether or not breast cancer has spread; it is one of several sources of information used to guide treatment.

"For most patients with invasive breast cancer, if the axillary ultrasound is negative, we perform a sentinel lymph node biopsy at the time of the breast operation to make sure cancer has not spread. When the preoperative axillary ultrasound shows suspicious lymph nodes, we then do a fine-needle aspiration of the lymph nodes. If that shows cancer, we may discuss other strategies with the patient such as giving chemotherapy before surgery," Dr. Hieken says.

More research is planned, including looking at different techniques of lymph node ultrasound to improve accuracy and perhaps to avoid axillary lymph node surgery altogether in some breast cancer patients with small tumors and negative axillary ultrasounds, she says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. The original article was written by Sharon Theimer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Lymph node ultrasounds more accurate in obese breast cancer patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430132816.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2014, April 30). Lymph node ultrasounds more accurate in obese breast cancer patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430132816.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Lymph node ultrasounds more accurate in obese breast cancer patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430132816.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins