Number of lymph nodes?

I had a mastectomy and full lymph node clearance last year, on 28 Nov. I was told afterwards that they removed 10 lymph nodes and three of those showed signs of cancer.

What puzzles me is that I’ve seen other ladies here and elsewhere report different numbers of lymph nodes removed - some as high as 30. Does that mean we’re not all born with the same number of lymph nodes, or did my surgeon leave some of mine behind?


Hi Yvonne

I have added the link to a Breast Cancer Care publication “Treating breast cancer”, there is a section on removing the lymph glands that you may find helpful.

Kind Regards

Hi Yvonne

How many lymph nodes are removed depends just as much on your normal anatomy as it does on the surgeon’s and pathologist’s skill. Every woman has a different number of lymph nodes under her arm—some may only have five nodes and others may have over thirty.

You may find this link helpful :

I find a very informative site and answers many questions.

Best wishes


My surgeon only found 2! well actually removed an area where they should be as he couldn’t find them at all! I had had chemo first so I don’t know if that made a difference. Rosemary


I had a Level 2 Lymph nodes removed? 21 but only 7 infected!
There is a level 3 then full clearance!

So goodeness knows how many I got then???


Okay, that makes things clearer - thanks, everyone.