Your Diagnosis: Questions to Ask Your Doctor

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  • Is this breast cancer invasive, non-invasive, or both invasive and non-invasive?
  • Is the breast cancer more aggressive or less aggressive?
  • Are the surgical margins negative or positive?
  • Are there any cancer cells present in lymph channels or blood vessels?
  • What do the hormone receptor tests show? Am I a candidate for medicine that lowers or blocks the effects of estrogen?
  • Which of these HER2 tests was performed on the tissue? 
    • IHC (ImmunoHistoChemistry) test
    • FISH (Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization) test
    • SPoT-Light HER2 CISH (Subtraction Probe Technology Chromogenic In Situ Hybridization) test
    • Inform HER2 Dual ISH (Inform Dual In Situ Hybridization) test
  • Is the HER2 test positive, negative, or borderline? Am I a candidate for HER2-targeted therapy?
  • Is there cancer in any lymph nodes? If so, how many lymph nodes are involved?
  • Am I eligible for a genomic assay such as Oncotype DX, MammaPrint, or Mammostrat?
  • If any of my test results were unclear, would you recommend testing the tissue again?
  • Is any further surgery recommended based on my results?
  • Which treatments are most likely to work for this specific cancer, based on my pathology report results?

Expert Quote

"The best patients are the worst patients. Nudge, nudge, nudge. Don't sit back and accept anything that fails to satisfy you. Speak up, protect your interests."

-- Claire Fagin, Dean Emerita, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Pathology Report ThumbnailYour Guide to the Breast Cancer Pathology Report is an on-the-go reference booklet you can fill out with your doctor or nurse to keep track of the results of your pathology report. Order a free booklet by mail or download the PDF of the booklet to print it at home.

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