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Diagnosis

 
Diagnosis

Chapter: 4 - Diagnosis

Subchapter: 5 - Lab Tests

Once the biopsy is complete, a specially trained doctor called a pathologist will examine the tissue or fluid samples for abnormal or cancerous cells. Pathology reports can take one or two weeks to complete. The wait can be a real challenge, but being able to make an informed decision regarding your treatment is well worth your time. Remember, the pathology report helps give a full picture of your situation.

A core needle biopsy sample provides information on the tumor type and the tumor’s growth rate, or grade, which we discussed in Subchapter 3.2. If cancer is found, the pathologist will also test the cells for estrogen or progesterone receptors.

When a lumpectomy or wide local surgical biopsy is performed, the results provide information on the type, grade, and receptor status of the tumor. It can also can measure the distance between the surrounding normal tissue and the excised tumor. This distance, called the margin, shows whether the site is clear of cancer cells or not.

A positive margin means cancer cells are present at the margin of the tumor. A negative margin means there are no tumor cells at the margin. A close margin means that the distance between the tumor and normal surrounding tissue is less than about 3mm (.118 inch).

Using the pathology report and any additional scans or blood work, the cancer is classified into stages. Your medical team will use this information to design the best plan for you.

But before we discuss treatment options, in Chapter 6, we will elaborate on the types and stages of cancer.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    Hi everyone! I'm going for recontruction surgery today after lumpectomy. I'm kind of scared but positive. My parh rep after node surgery and lumpectomy showed chemo was100% effective. Smiles, jayme

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Another walk down the road of recovery. Prayers are with you.

      1 comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Jayme! YOU GO GIRL! Fabulous news and getting on with life. Each step is another leap back to normal. YAHOOOO! We celebrate with you.
      Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
  • jenny l Profile

    I went to the doctor yesterday to have a biopsy done on a lump I found and once the doctor realized my age he wouldn't do any necessary tests because he said I was "too young" to have breast cancer and sent me home... What should I do?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Hi Jenny, I went through the same thing, but it was the insurance company that said I was too young for a mammogram and ultrasound to be covered. My g.p. felt the lump that i had found and ordered the tests. The ins co said they wouldn't cover it. It took 15 min of the doc arguing why I needed...

      more

      Hi Jenny, I went through the same thing, but it was the insurance company that said I was too young for a mammogram and ultrasound to be covered. My g.p. felt the lump that i had found and ordered the tests. The ins co said they wouldn't cover it. It took 15 min of the doc arguing why I needed them done for them to say yes. I felt the lump last April when I was 29. I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in June. I would find another doctor that will listen to you. You do not want to wait if you feel there is an issue. How old are you, that the doctor says you are too young? I have met 3 ladies that are my age or younger just from this website. Unfortunately, no age is too young for a breast cancer diagnosis. If you have any other questions I am here to answer what I can. Best of luck to you. ~ Tiffani

      8 comments
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      The other ladies are so right. Unfortunately there are still doctors out there that think there's an age limit on breast cancer. Not true!!!!!! You need to find a specialized breast center in your area. If you're not sure where to go...just call the American Cancer Society. They'll refer you to...

      more

      The other ladies are so right. Unfortunately there are still doctors out there that think there's an age limit on breast cancer. Not true!!!!!! You need to find a specialized breast center in your area. If you're not sure where to go...just call the American Cancer Society. They'll refer you to a good clinic in your area. Don't give up until you have an answer that you're content with. Don't ever hesitate to get a second opinion!!

      Comment
  • Linda Green Profile

    I had a routine mammogram that showed a lump in the right breast 1..2 cm in size. Will be having core biopsy on Monday. Has anyone had that with conscious sedation and if so how painful was it after you woke up?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 6 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a core biopsy without anything to numb the area or any sedation. It is only the skin surrounding the breast that feels pain the breast tissue itself doesn't so once the needle has penetrated the skin you won't feel anything. I agree with Sharon about the dentist. Good luck with it and let...

      more

      I had a core biopsy without anything to numb the area or any sedation. It is only the skin surrounding the breast that feels pain the breast tissue itself doesn't so once the needle has penetrated the skin you won't feel anything. I agree with Sharon about the dentist. Good luck with it and let us know the result.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Linda, I had this done and for me, it wasn't a big deal, at all. To me, a dental appointment is10 times more difficult. BUT... EVERYBODY IS DIFFERENT. The initial numbing stings, I felt pressure when they took the core but that was about it. It was a very, very, quick procedure. I think...

      more

      Hi Linda, I had this done and for me, it wasn't a big deal, at all. To me, a dental appointment is10 times more difficult. BUT... EVERYBODY IS DIFFERENT. The initial numbing stings, I felt pressure when they took the core but that was about it. It was a very, very, quick procedure. I think the entire thing was done within about 20 minutes (30 minutes at the most) and that was including the time it took to get numb and wait for the doctor to get back in the room. Afterwards, the discomfort can be minimized by icing the area. The area was sore but not even uncomfortable enough to need any OTC pain medication. We live on a little farm so afterwards, I just went about my normal activities of taking care of animals. Again..... everybody is different and I am sure there are plenty of women out there who had a more difficult time than I did. Hang in there, gal! We are all supportive of each other on this board.

      2 comments
  • anonymous Profile

    Usually, how soon after lumpectomies and ending radiation treatment do you have a mammogram to see that everything looks clear?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    almost 6 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I went for a monogram 1 year after

      Comment
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I went for a monogram 1 year after

      Comment

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