Involvement of the lymph node is the single most important indicator of the severity of your breast cancer and the risk of breast cancer return is related closely to the number of lymph nodes involved. Also the fact if lymph nodes are involved with cancer or not weighs heavily on many treatment decisions. Patients who have involvement of the lymph nodes will most likely be advised to have adjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy may also be advised for some patients with
node negative disease if they have bigger tumors. Lymphedema is the persistent edema (swelling) of the hand and can occur as a complication of the axillary lymph node dissection. One in four women who had axillary lymph node dissection may develop lymphedema. If the patient receive radiation to the armpit area after axillary lymph node dissection, the chances of lymphedema is further increased. The surgery may sometimes cause numbness, irritation, itching and pain.