Medical Questions » Cancer Questions » Question No. 190
Question:My mother has to have yet another operation after several operations for breast cancer. This time they are going to remove her glands. Why are glands removed after operations for cancer?
Answer:A The glands in the armpits, groin, neck and other parts of the body are really disease-fighting lymph nodes that contain millions of white cells. They can filter out abnormal cells as well as bacteria and viruses, and so they can be a site of spread for cancer. The abnormal cells from a breast cancer can move down the lymph ducts to the nodes in the armpit. The lymph nodes in the groin can be involved in cancer of the bowel. The lymph nodes will remove the cancerous cells from the lymph circulation, but in the process, the cancer may start in the involved nodes. This is why it is vital for enlarged tender lymph nodes anywhere to be checked by a doctor, and it is why the nearby nodes are often removed during many forms of cancer operation.
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