Educating patients on sentinel lymph node dissection for breast cancer

Karen K. Swenson, Mary L. Sladek, Robin M. Lally, Todd M. Tuttle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: This article reviews the current literature on lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND) for breast cancer and presents educational information for patients who are considering undergoing this procedure. OVERVIEW: Lymphatic mapping with SLND has been tested widely in patients with breast cancer, primarily in the context of clinical trials. Research studies have found a high degree of accuracy, with the sentinel lymph node (SIN) predicting the status of the axillary node basin. The ability of the surgeon to identify the SLN and the accuracy of the technique correlate with the number of procedures conducted. With the increase in the number of patients having lymphatic mapping and SLND for breast cancer who may not be part of a clinical trial, there is a need for educational materials to help clinicians teach patients about the procedure. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Because of the complexity of the information, patients need both written and verbal information to decide whether to undergo an SLND. In the setting of a clinical trial, patient education materials add to the informed consent document. As the use of SLND for breast cancer becomes more common, the need for clear, concise informative patient education materials is even more imperative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-96
Number of pages5
JournalCancer practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Patient education
  • Sentinel lymp node dissection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Oncology


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