Read on to learn more about sentinel-lymph-node biopsy procedure.
A tumor can spread in three ways:
- Through the blood
- By local invasion of adjacent tissue
- Through the lymphatic system
The lymphatic system drains fluid from the body and returns to a central location and the first lymph node which receives drainage from a tumor is the sentinel lymph node.
The surgeon will determine which node must be examined by injecting a radioactive substance or blue dye near the tumor and radiologically find a lymph node which contains a radioactive substance or blue dye.
Then, the doctor will make a biopsy of sentinel node check for the presence of cancer cells. If the cancer cells are found, the surgeon will remove more nodes in the area.
This has become a standard procedure to determine the nodal stage of the disease in some patients with malignant melanoma.