“I was keen to go on a clinical trial. I wanted to try new cancer treatments and hopefully help future generations.”
A trial comparing sentinel node biopsy with standard treatment of the armpit in breast cancer (The ALMANAC trial)
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This trial looked at sentinel lymph node biopsy as a way of checking for cancer cells in the armpit after surgery for breast cancer.
After a diagnosis of breast cancer, it is important to check the
Sometimes, doctors check just the first node under the arm that lymph fluid drains into from the breast. This is called sentinel lymph node biopsy. If this node is free of cancer cells, there may be very little risk that there are cancer cells in any of the other nodes.
The aim of this trial was to see if sentinel lymph node biopsy caused fewer arm problems, and improved the quality of life after surgery for
Summary of results
The trial found that people who had sentinel lymph node biopsy had fewer problems with their arm and shoulder after surgery than people who had more lymph nodes removed.
The trial recruited 1,031 patients. They had all been diagnosed with breast cancer and their doctors needed to check the lymph nodes under their arm for any cancer cells. Half the people taking part had sentinel node biopsy. The other half had more nodes removed, which was the standard treatment.
Analysis of results in 2006 found that lymphoedema, loss of sensation in the arm and reduced shoulder movement were more common in people who had the
In a quality of life study, people who had sentinel lymph node biopsy rated their quality of life more highly, and were no more anxious than people who had standard treatment.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Robert Mansel
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
The Research and Development Office of Wales (NHS)