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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

  • Carla Victor-rawson Profile

    Stage 1 cancer : lumpectomy or Mastectomy ? So confused, any opinions out there...need help, musy make up my mind soon!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Betsy Chapin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      This is such a personal decision and you will make the right one for yourself. I know when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer, my first feelings were to have a mastectomy because I just wanted the cancer out! I never wanted to go through this again, but my doctor was a big help in making this...

      more

      This is such a personal decision and you will make the right one for yourself. I know when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer, my first feelings were to have a mastectomy because I just wanted the cancer out! I never wanted to go through this again, but my doctor was a big help in making this decision with me. We had long talks about lumpectomy vs mastectomy. This was one of the hardest decisions of all in the whole cancer process, but I know I made the right one for myself. The reasons I chose lumpectomy had a lot to do with the studies done on women and their recurrence rate after lumpectomy vs mastectomy. With a lumpectomy, I knew radiation was also going to be part of my treatment. Now, 2 years later, I am very content with the choices I made. Hang in there Carla and take your time with this.

      2 comments
    • K G Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I agree with the ladies. Sometimes a second opinion helps. Don't rush into your decision, even though we all know the feeling of "get it out". I think alot of it depends on family history, what type your tumor is, the size of your tumor, etc. Do you have a nurse navigator helping you? The studies...

      more

      I agree with the ladies. Sometimes a second opinion helps. Don't rush into your decision, even though we all know the feeling of "get it out". I think alot of it depends on family history, what type your tumor is, the size of your tumor, etc. Do you have a nurse navigator helping you? The studies are showing the chances of cancer reoccuring are about the same whether or not you have a lumpectomy or mastectomy. You will make the right decision for you, and follow your gut instinct. We are all here for you.

      Comment
  • 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
    about 7 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
  • Thumb avatar default

    What is the percentage rate of women who will get a re-occurance of DCIS - Ductual Carcinoma Insitu after going through lumpectomy and radiation?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Lisa Cefaratti Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      I had invasive ductile carcinoma (IDC) stage 2B ER/PR+ and HER-2 NEG. I had a mastectomy, so there was no reason for radiation, but I had to have chemo. My oncologist told me that after the mastectomy and the chemo, I had a 15% chance of recurrence. So, I would assume with DCIS it is probably...

      more

      I had invasive ductile carcinoma (IDC) stage 2B ER/PR+ and HER-2 NEG. I had a mastectomy, so there was no reason for radiation, but I had to have chemo. My oncologist told me that after the mastectomy and the chemo, I had a 15% chance of recurrence. So, I would assume with DCIS it is probably much less, because DCIS is not invasive. I am no doctor, but that is just my assumption from what my case is. You should probably ask your oncologist for statistics like that. Good luck to you and God bless!

      Comment
  • Pat Andrew Profile

    Home care after lumpectomy - suggestions?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Maya Wald Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      I had my lumpectomy last Wed. Wear a sports bra or other support bra 24/7. I basically just followed the instructions given to me when discharged and seem to be doing fine. I get the staples out Thursday, so hopefully the pain will lessen after that. Good Luck!

      Comment
    • Connie Herrick Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I found the sports bras to be a little constricting, since I had a reduction at the same time (incision under the breast as well). I bought a light-weight "nursing" bra from Target. It is very comfortable for sleeping and laying around.

      1 comment

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