loading... close

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

  • Patricia Lindley Profile

    I have tubular carcinoma. Should I get a lumpectomy or masectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had IDC grade 2 in my right breast buy I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy for my own peace of mind. I didn't want to go around for the rest of my life checking both of my breasts for lumps everyday and wondering what was going on in there. This does not guarantee that the cancer will not...

      more

      I had IDC grade 2 in my right breast buy I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy for my own peace of mind. I didn't want to go around for the rest of my life checking both of my breasts for lumps everyday and wondering what was going on in there. This does not guarantee that the cancer will not return but the chance of it returning is the lowest I could get. I have not regretted my decision at all, not for one second. I am now in the process of having tissue expander reconstruction. Unfortunately, this is a decision that no one can make for us and it is a very individual thing. Take your time, talk to your family but go with what you feel most comfortable with. Good luck with it all.

      Comment
    • Judy Ziegler Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 1994

      18 years ago I had a lumpectomy for tubular carcinoma which was inter-ductal insitu2. I have had a couple of bad scares but remain in cancer free today. I wish you The best. Judy

      Comment
  • jenny rios Profile

    Can my mom eat shrimp or any seafood a month after having a lumpectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      No one gave me any diet restrictions. Eat whatever sounds good and some healthy stuff too.

      Comment
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I would think so! Never had any warnings about seafood.

      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
    about 8 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
  • Janet Layden Profile

    More details: NYC Sloane Kettering surgeon said that if I DID have radiation, and any cancer returned, I would not qualify for another lumpectomy--that I would only qualify for a mastectomy. Is that TRUE? Please help.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Cindy Smalley Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      That is what I was told also. Just hope it never comes back.

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I just learned something new

      Comment

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 1

An Early Detection Plan (EDP) significantly increases the chances of surviving breast cancer.

spread the word