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Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy - Side Effects

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy - Side Effects

Posted by bandrew on Mar 3, 2019 12:43 pm

I am new to the forum - I had a sentinel lymph node biopsy on both armpits as part of the process for Melanoma. I also had a wide excision on my back. this was done 2 weeks ago. the back surgery is healing fine but I have developed swelling in each armpit with lymph fluid. Each each morning the fluid leaks out of my incision which are mostly healed. I spoke to the cancer nurse and she said that is normal and should give it more time to heal. I asked if I need to get them drained and she said not that if it is leaking out, let it heal naturally. I am worried that each time the fluid leaks out (pretty gross) that I risk getting an infection or that the incision will take a very long time to heal. Can anyone support or offer any advice - it's a bit scary. 

Re: Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy - Side Effects

Posted by cancertakesflight on Mar 3, 2019 1:07 pm

bandrew‍ Welcome to the site. You have a great group of people here to provide their insight about the many sides of cancer. 

I had a biopsy of my lymph nodes when I was having my mastectomy. I had a drain for the site of the mastectomy and one for under the arm where I had 22 lymph nodes were removed. I had my drains for about 15 days. Since each cancer is different, I can't comment about whether what is happening to you is so-called normal. Having said that, I would think that any kind of incision would have to be monitored to ensure there is no infection. Some people are told not to have showers to ensure that the site of the surgery does not get wet. I was allowed to shower, but the dressing was changed within 30 minutes to ensure that it didn't get infected. 

I was scared, even with drains, because the area under my arm actually was a bit swollen and I couldn't put my arm against my side. Everything worked out, but it's those unknown's that make you nervous. 

Perhaps, it's time to actually see your doctor. Sometimes describing what is happening is not the same as actually having someone take a look at what's happening. If it will make you feel better then it's worth the trip to see the doctor. If you actually are right that the current process is increasing your risk of infection, it will be great to have that addressed sooner rather than later. 

You may also want to check out the information that is available on the Canadian Cancer Society's website. http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/skin-melanoma/melanoma/?region=on

cancertakesflight (Debbie)

Re: Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy - Side Effects

Posted by bandrew on Mar 9, 2019 11:49 pm

Thanks Debbie. Following up on this one I noticed redness and sore one the left side biopsy incision Ended up heading to emergency and have it looked at. I have a seroma in each armpit but the left one is infected (this was my worry) and cellulitis. An IV of antibiotics and prescription of a 7 day course of antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Hopefully does the trick. I comment on this in case others have the
same worry or symptom. Seromas happen sometimes after a lymph node biopsy but if it gets red, sore or looks infected get to the emergency or your cancer specialist to ensure you get it treated right away. Complications like sepsis can arise if left untreated. Hope this helps. 

Re: Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy - Side Effects

Posted by bandrew on Mar 20, 2019 9:00 am

Well good news yesterday. I received my diagnosis and it was negative. So thanks to all for your support. I hope my post helps others who are going thru recoveryy on sentinel lymph node biopsies. Perhaps we can move this to the melanoma group for those who typically have this kind of procedure 

Re: Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy - Side Effects

Posted by ashcon on Mar 21, 2019 11:26 am


Thanks for the update - I am so glad to hear this good news for you.  We take these wins when they come our way!
Good idea to move this to a spot for discussions on treatments for melanoma.  Lacey_adminCCS‍ or Lianne_adminCCS‍  is this possible?

Re: Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy - Side Effects

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Mar 21, 2019 12:08 pm

bandrew‍  - so happy to hear of your news! 
I am moving this to treatment and side effects as it could be useful for other cancers where a lymph node biopsy is done.

Thanks for the tag ashcon‍ 


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