Pathology Report

The pathologist will issue a detailed report on the cancer. This is usually available within a week after your operation and will describe the following features:

Type: Ductal or lobular cancer.
Size: In mm

Grade: There are 3 grades describing how aggressive the cancer cells look. Grade 1 are the "best behaved" cells and Grade 3 the most "troublesome" looking cells.

Lymphovascular invasion: Are there cells that have moved into the blood and lymph vessels in the tissue?

Hormone receptor status: There are small parts of the cancer cell that bind strongly to the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones can stimulate growth of some cancers. There are a number of drugs available that can block this action and that may be useful in treating your cancer. There are two types of receptor.

Oestrogen receptor: Positive / negative

Progesterone receptor: Positive / negative

HER 2: Human epidermal growth factor in another molecule that can stimulate some cancers to grow. It has a special receptor on the cell surface and we can test for this. Herceptin is a drug that can block this receptor and may be useful in treating some cancers.

Margins of excision: The wider the margins of clearance the better. Preference is for clear margins of 10mm or more. Depending on the location of the cancer this cannot always be achieved and the most important fact is that the margin is clear of cancer.

Lymph nodes: How many lymph nodes are affected?

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