Information for the public

NICE has said that Magtrace and Sentimag can be used in the NHS for locating the first lymph nodes where breast cancer is likely to have spread. These are called sentinel lymph nodes.

Magtrace is a magnetic liquid tracer. It is injected into the tissue around a tumour. The particles are then absorbed into the lymphatic system and become trapped in sentinel lymph nodes. Sentimag is a handheld magnetic sensing probe. During surgery, it detects the tracer trapped in the lymph nodes and guides the surgeon to remove them for biopsy.

The benefits of Magtrace and Sentimag is that it can be used in hospitals which don’t have nuclear medicine facilities, and Magtrace can be injected up to 30 days before surgery. The tracers used in current practice are radioactive and can be given no more than 24 hours before the sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure.

Is this treatment right for me?

Your healthcare professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns. Your family can be involved too, if you wish. Read more about making decisions about your care.

Questions to think about

  • How well does it work compared with other treatments?
  • What are the risks or side effects? How likely are they?
  • How will the treatment affect my day-to-day life?
  • What happens if the treatment does not work?
  • What happens if I do not want to have treatment? Are there other treatments available?

Information and support

The NHS website may be a good place to find out more.

You can also get support from your local Healthwatch.

NICE is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information or advice provided by these organisations.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-4761-4

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