- Question from Patty: What is lymphovascular invasion and lymphatic invasion in the tumor? And what is necrosis? My pathology says areas of necrosis are present in the tumor centrally.
Lymphatic or vascular invasion means that the tumor cells have gotten into the fluid-carrying channels within the breast. Tumors with this kind of invasion are at increased risk for spread beyond the main cancer within the breast, to the lymph nodes, and possibly to other areas of the body.
Necrosis in the tumor means that the cancer cells in that area are dead. The pathologic finding of necrosis suggests a fast-growing cancer. This often happens because the tumor runs out of blood supply in the central portion. Without a blood supply, the tumor cells cannot live. When a tumor is necrotic, it may be difficult or impossible to diagnose on a small biopsy, and an additional sample might need to be taken. Tumor necrosis is often focal (limited to a small area) in the region. There are usually living cancer cells nearby that can be diagnosed as cancer using a microscope.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Your Operative and Pathology Reports featured Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Ann Ainsworth, M.D. answering your questions about details of pathology and operative reports and the importance of discussing them with your doctors.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in November 2004.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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