Here's what you will be learning more about, as you and your doctor gather all the pieces of the puzzle before making your treatment plan.
- Type of Breast Cancer: This is the pathological diagnosis, the name for your particular type of breast cancer -- DCIS, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, etc.
- Specimen Description: Anatomical location of the tumor, procedure used to acquire specimen, pathology preservative type
- Tumor Size: Dimensions of the tumor in centimeters
- Finding Your Actual Tumor Size: How a tumor is measured in pathology
- Tumor Grade: Appearance of cancer cells under the micrscope.
- Surgical Margins: Making sure all the cancer was removed, or if more surgery is needed
- Ki-67 Proliferation Score: Cells within the tumor (as a percentage) in the biopsy specimen that are actively making another copy of themselves. In terms of aggressiveness, a high number is worse than a low number.
- Hormone Status: Estrogen and Progesterone Sensitivity, a test to see whether or not your cancer is fueled by these hormones
- HER2/Neu Status: Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 can affect the growth of some breast tumors, and requires a special drug to treat the cancer
- Lymph Node Status: Cancer may use your lymph system to spread, so your lymph nodes are checked for metastasis
- Staging: Staging affects your treatment and predicts your chance of recurrence
- Metastasis: Breast cancer may use your blood and lymph system to spread beyond the original tumor. Systemic therapies may be recommended
Moving Forward With Your Diagnosis
By now, you may have your complete diagnosis, and are dealing with a flood of emotions and stress. Take time to experience your feelings and process all of this news. Talk with family and friends, as you feel able. Find a support group with people that have a diagnosis similar to yours. Many clinics and hospitals have support groups just for newly diagnosed patients, moderated by survivors and experienced healthcare professionals. Reach out for support -– you don't have to go through this journey alone.
Next Steps in Your Journey: