Will Breast Cancer Come Back Or Not?

Breast cancer when diagnosed early has a great chance of being treated successfully. Whether it is coming back is a matter to reckon with. But if you were the patient, you can have an idea as to the possibility of it coming back or not. Your pathology report has much to say about this issue. Furthermore this report will guide your doctor on the most beneficial treatment for you.

Pathology report and the information contained in it.

The tissues taken from the breast after surgery or biopsy will be subjected to a microscopic study and the findings will be summarized in a report that has the most valuable information for the concerned patient. The report will include the following – diagnosis, size and location of the cancer, hormone receptors, HER2 status, lymph nodes, surgical margin, grade and stage of breast cancer.

Diagnosis – if the cancer is at an early stage, the diagnosis would be “invasive breast cancer”. The size of the lump with breast cancer and where found will be stated in the report. It will also indicate in the report if the breast cancer has hormone (progesterone and estrogen) and HER2 receptors. Presence of hormones will guide the doctor to further prescription of oral medication in the form of hormonal therapy.

The lymph nodes that are usually studied are those that are found in the armpit or on parts near the breast. As surgery is undergone, the surgeon will extract some healthy tissues around the lump of cancer cells. These healthy-looking cells are called the surgical margin. If no indication of presence of cancer in the healthy issues, it means that all cancer cells were removed in the operation.

Grade and stage are indicators of the extent of damage caused by the cancer cells. The higher the grade or stage, the more likely that cancer cells will spread. The stages of the breast cancer give an idea on the possibility of the cancer to come back or not. The pathology report will give you the needed information.

The breast cancer is likely to come back under the following findings:

•The lump is less than 2 centimeters and there are positive cancer cells in the lymph nodes. This is Stage II-A.

•Still under Stage II-A, when no cancer cells are found in the breast but there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes.

•Stage II-B has a size of 2 to 5 centimeters of cancer lump and there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes.

•There are no hormone receptors.

•The Her2 receptor is positive

•Grade of cancer is high (Grade 3).

•The surgical margin is not clear.

The breast cancer is not likely to come back under the following findings:

•Stage I where the size of cancer lump is less that 2 centimeters and there is no cancer in the lymph nodes.

•Stage II-A where the size of the cancer lump is 2 to 5 centimeters but there is no affliction in the lymph nodes

•There are hormone receptors and underwent hormone therapy.

•The HER2 receptor is negative.

•Surgical margin is clear.

The importance of the pathology report is usually explained and emphasized to the patient. This could be the guide as to the extent of the cancer cells’ damage. This will also indicate possibility of remission.

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