Lymph nodes showed as clear

I had a lumpectomy and sentinel lobe biopsy yesterday. Before I went into surgery they told me that if the biopsy came back positive I would have a lymph node clearance. However, I woke to hear the news that they had taken my first 2 nodes and they showed clear so hadn’t taken more. I have ER + grade 2, it was 1cm lump that was removed. I go back for my full results in a couple of weeks. At first I was so relieved and pleased, and I still am but am starting so feel anxious that I may still have to have chemo or that the results won’t be as good as I’m hoping. Does anyone have any experience of this or know what the clear nodes means in a further treatment sense? They seemed very positive at the hospital but I don’t want to get my hopes up…

Hi Wigs

Welcome to the BCC Forum.  While you are waiting for other members to come along and offer you some support, I’ve attached a link to our publication “Understanding your pathology Report” which I thought may be helpful:

You could also contact our Helpline for information and support.  The opening times are 9-5 on weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays.  The number is 0808 800 6000

Very best wishes


BCC Moderator

Hi wigs x

did you get a copy of your pathology results? It’s helpful when trying to understand or get your bcn to run through it with you?

when do you go back to discuss with the surgeon?

sorry for asking so many questions,  lots of lovely folk here to support youand there is a thread about waiting for results

if I can help you at all I will

its a very difficult time,  just take one day at a time

sheena xx

Hi Wigs, there is a "had my lumpectomy today "thread in the going through treatment section if you want to join us there ,lots of ladies at a similar stage to you talking. Lymph nodes clear is really positive ,but there are other factors that influence whether you are offered chemo or not so you are right to be slightly cautious ,as Sheena says may be best to talk through with your BC nurse. Surgeon will have full picture to discuss properly when you go for your post op apt, but the initial indications are really good,you are lucky to have a hospital where they can tell you node results straight away most dont.

Hi Wigs. If your nodes were tested during surgery which I believe can be done at some hospitals - and from what you said, they were clear, then as long as you have clear margins and no HER2 involvement and it remains a grade 2, then it would probably mean rads/tamoxifen. I’m no medic so please don’t take this as more than helpful advice but from what you have reported it sounds very positive. I had a grade 1, clear nodes and margins, ER/PR pos and I will be having just rads/tamoxifen. Chemo is always given for grade 3 tumours, HER2, and usually for node involvement…oh and ER negative. I maybe wrong…and someone may want to chip on with their advice, but your prognosis seems good.

Hi Wigs,


As others have said there’s a good chance you won’t need chemo provided your final pathology report confirms the original diagnosis. There’s lots of factors they take into account. I was Grade 3 ER- and HER+ and I still avoided the dreaded chemo because my tumour was very small 3.5mm.  So grade 3 doesn’t automatically mean chemo these days.


Best of luck, Ali

Hi Wigs,


I had lumpdectomy but as my first node was suspect they took all mine. i think that tends to be common at my hospital,  Margains clear, but my lump was originally stage 2, but classed as stage 3 cause agressive, but only for that reason, I did however find it really early so i didnt have to have chemo. just rads and tomoxifen. June

I had my lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on the 4th June.  It is the waiting for results that is the worst so try to keep busy if you can to take your mind off it.  I feel very lucky that my tumour was only 0.8 cm, grade 3,   They got clear margins and the one lymph node they took was negative.  I already knew from previouls tests that I was Estrogen and Progestogen positive so had been on the Letrozole for a month before my surgery.  So in my case it is radiation and continue with the letrozole.  The lymph nodes being negative is very positive for you so think of that.  Your tumour was small too which is very positive so best wishes for a speedy recovery.  Every case is different, but you look to be a fairly good position.  I am back to the gym, golfing now and having my radiotherapy so it will end eventually.