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Reduced Side Effects from Less Treatment
The IBCSG-23 clinical trial was aimed at improving breast cancer surgery and examined whether a full axillary dissection could be avoided in some patients with microscopic evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes.
Breast cancer cells can spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit and from there they can reach the blood and other parts of the body. The sentinel (or main) lymph node in the armpit is the first lymph node that breast cancer cells may spread to outside of the breast.
IBCSG-23 hoped to reduce treatment in women where cancer had spread to the sentinel lymph nodes, thereby assuring them of a better quality of life while still providing the best treatment for the cancer. Researchers studied factors such as breast cancer recurrence (return of the cancer), as well as short-term and long-term complications of surgery.
The study resulted in less invasive surgery needed, less pain and recovery time, and a reduction in the side effect of lymphoedema.
IBCSG-23 was an international clinical trial which recruited 934 women worldwide, including 34 patients in Australia and New Zealand.