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Surgeon performing sentinel node biopsy

Surgeon performing sentinel node biopsy

M550/0534

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Credit

JOHN GREIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN GREIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Sentinel node biopsy. View of a surgeon performing a sentinel node biopsy on a patient. The sentinel nodes are the lymph nodes under the armpits. They are called sentinel nodes as they are the first nodes in the lymphatic system to which cancer would spread. The lymphatic system is a series of vessels which spread throughout the body, and contains cells which fight infections. This procedure allows the removal of just one or two of the lymph nodes, which can then be studied for the presence of cancerous cells. This is especially useful in diagnosing breast cancer and melanomas, both of which can be treated if caught early.

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