What Is Node-Positive and Node-Negative Breast Cancer?
What is Node-Positive and Node-Negative Breast Cancer? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.
Node-positive and node-negative breast cancer are two types, but what do patients need to know about them? Expert Dr. Demetria Smith-Graziani explains the difference between the types and recommends questions for patients to ask their doctor.
Demetria Smith-Graziani, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Smith-Graziani.
“…ask, ‘What stage of breast cancer do I have, where has my breast cancer spread?’”
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What is node-positive and node-negative breast cancer, and how does this impact breast cancer staging?
Dr. Demetria Smith-Graziani:
A Great question. So when breast cancer starts, it starts in the cells of the breast, usually the first place that it spreads to after it leaves the breast, are what we call lymph nodes that are under the arm or sometimes in the chest, and when we say that cancer is node-positive it means that we have found evidence of cancer cells in those lymph nodes.
Node-negative breast cancer is cancer that has just been found in the breast, and you don’t see any evidence of it in the lymph nodes. So my activation tip for patients is you should ask, “What stage of breast cancer do I have, where has my breast cancer spread?”