Axillary Lymph Nodes

For women who have reached a certain stage in their lives, the possibility of breast cancer is an unfortunate issue. It is strongly urged that women above the age of 40 see their doctor regular, in order to schedule mammograms and other tests which may help to prevent the possibility of developing a potentially fatal case of breast cancer. Even if such cancer is detected, an early mammogram result may be instrumental in treating it successfully in time.

The lymphatic system is a system of circulation which runs throughout the entire body, carrying fluid, nutriments, and cells, as well as a host of other materials, to the lymph nodes, via colorless fluid known as lymph.

Axillary Lymph Nodes
Axillary Lymph Nodes. Source:

The lymph nodes themselves are systems which store white blood cells, which are the body’s front line defense against infections from bacteria, viruses, and other invasive elements.

What are Axillary Lymph Nodes?

Lymph nodes which are located in one’s under arm region are known as axillary nodes. This particular group of lymph nodes plays a vital role in determining the precise stage that cancer in one’s breast area might have progressed to. Indeed, if cancer is to be found in the region, it will likely be located first of all in the axillary lymph nodes. A common surgical procedure is to remove some of the axillary nodes from the region, to determine if cancer is indeed present in the area of the breast.

These axillary nodes are found in a long chain which extends from the under arm to the collar bone. Nodes which are located under the arm and receive most of the lymph fluid that originates from the area of the breast are commonly referred to as Level 1 nodes. Located farther up, Level 2 nodes are the nodes which receive the bulk of the fluid from Level 1, and which receive a portion of the fluid from the areas of the chest wall and breast.

Located just beneath the collar bone, Level 3 nodes receive fluids from Level 1, as well as Level 2, and from the upper regions of the chest wall and breast. The final group of axillary lymph nodes is known as supraclavicular lymph nodes. These will be found located just above the collar bone (clavicle). In the event that cancer does indeed manage to spread to the area of the breasts, it will normally be detected first of all in the region of the Level 1 axillary nodes.

Axillary Lymph Nodes and Cancer

During surgical procedures to locate and determine the extent of the cancer or, indeed, the very possibility of cancer, axillary nodes from the region of Level 1 and Level 2 will often be removed. These particular types of lymph nodes will then be carefully examined under a microscope, in order to determine if cancer is indeed present. Should cancer be found, there is, unfortunately, a very high probability that the cancer may not have been detected in time, before being able to spread to other regions of the body.

It is, therefore, highly recommended that women above the age of 40 receive regular mammograms, in order to make a timely discovery of such distressing developments. Finding out, safely, in time, whether or not this particular form of cancer has spread is a major help in determining what stage your breast cancer may have reached, as well as what forms of treatment and therapy may be required.

If you or a loved one are at the particular stage of life where such developments are prone to occur, please read this information carefully, and pass it along to those you know who may be facing the same risks. It’s certainly better to be safe now than sorry later!

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