What's in My Pathology Report?

Because every person's cancer is different, it's important to understand your unique diagnosis and tumor biology to help guide your personalized treatment.  To provide specific information about your cancer, your physicians will perform several tests on your tumor tissue.  

Your pathology report is one of the resources that contains information about your tumor, which will help guide your healthcare team in planning the appropriate treatment for you.  Ask your doctor if there are additional tests you should consider to ensure you have the most complete picture of your unique cancer.  

Here is some information about your tumor that is contained in your pathology report:

Stage:  Staging is the assessment of how far the cancer has progressed.  In most cases, the lower the stage, the better the prognosis.  (Stage 0 to Stage IV)

Tumor Size:  The size of the cancer is one of the factors that determines the stage of the breast cancer.  

Margins:  This describes the area at the edge of the specimen being examined by the pathologist.  Positive margins mean that cancer cells are found at the edge of the material removed; negative/not involved/clear margins mean that no cancer cells are found at the outer edge; close margins are neither positive nor negative.