After your biopsy you will visit your surgeon or the doctor
and be given the results of your tests plus an explanation
of the results. You will be able to learn a certain amount
about your diagnosis. You will normally be told:
- whether you have a benign or malignant tumour
- how aggressive the tumour is (the grade)
- the approximate size of the tumour
- whether the tumour is oestrogen positive or negative
If you want to know more about the full range of tests including
surgery and removal of lymph nodes, go to understand
- You will not know if it has spread further through the
breast or to the lymph nodes
- You will need to understand as much as possible about
your diagnosis and the choices you have for your particular
circumstances. At this stage you will focus on whether you
will have breast conserving treatment or a mastectomy
- You will not be told what follow up treatment is required
as it is too early to tell with any degree of certainty
The information from the tests will also be used by the pathologist
to 'grade' your cancer. Grade refers to the similarity of
cancer cells to normal cells. The more similar cancer cells
are to normal cells, the more likely it is that treatment
will be successful. There are three grades of tumours:
- Grade 1 cancers are similar to normal cells and able to
be successfully treated.
- Grade 2 cancers are somewhat similar to normal cells and
are associated with moderately successful treatment.
- Grade 3 cancers are not similar to normal cells and less
able to be treated successfully.
The biopsy should be able to provide an indication of the
size of the tumour and how well defined it is. It will not
be able to identify spread from the tumour.
A tumour under 2 cm is considered relatively small.
The biopsy and ultrasound together can identify more than
one tumour. However it is not possible to know for certain
whether all tumours have been identified.
The biopsy will also tell whether the growth of the tumour
is influenced by oestrogen or not. Generally receptors that
are receptor positive respond well to treatments such as Tamoxifen
that block the effects of hormones on the cancer.