Tumour has gone with chemo alone but still need surgery

I’ve been told that my breast tumour has already gone with chemo alone but surgeon has advised that I still need surgery to take tissue samples and remove at least 1 lymph nodes. Great news of course but my question is…he’s also told me that if tissue samples come back with any suspicion of other lymph nodes affected I’d need a 2nd surgery to remove the rest. I’m inclined to ask him to remove them all anyway as I don’t want to have to go through surgery twice plus this would mean longer off work which I can’t afford to do. Has anyone else been faced with this dilemma?

I doubt if a surgeon would do this unless it is necessary as it significantly increases the risk of lymphoedema. I only had 4 nodes sampled and they were clear. A friend of mine had full axilla clearance and now has a swollen, painful arm, and has to wear a compression sleeve. You don’t want to be risking that, unless it is necessary medically.


Hi @jols68,
I was in a similar situation to you as my chemo got rid of the lump but I still had a lumpectomy and SLNB. I’m 2 weeks out of surgery. I won’t know until 14th May if they got clear margins and also if my lymph nodes are clear. If either isn’t clear then I’ll need further surgery.
The main thing I’m hoping is that my lymph nodes are clear and I won’t need full clearance. There can be complications after a full clearance while its less likely with only having the sentinal nodes removed.
If I was you I’d do what the surgeon recommends and hopefully you won’t need anything further. There’s no point putting yourself through something you might not need and if you can keep your lymph nodes that would be preferable in avoiding longer term problems with swelling etc.
Hope it goes well xx


It’s so difficult to make these decisions, I guess it’s good to have options. I was initially down for a mastectomy however my tumour disappeared with chemo so I was offered the choice to have the lumpectomy. I suggest you Ask all the questions, then trust your instincts. sending you good luck xxx

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Thank you for your words of wisdom. Always good to hear what others would do or have done. There’s no manual with all this as we all know perfectly well. Good luck to all you co-warriors. X