NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)
Sentinel lymph nodes are the first nodes to which
lymph travels after leaving the breast. An SLNB
iopsy) is advised in two
cases. It is advised if the axillary ultrasound
looks okay. It is advised if there’s no cancer in
the biopsy samples. SLNB can be done before or
after preoperative treatment. Read Part 4 for more
Cancer lab tests
The samples are sent to a pathologist to confirm if
cancer is present. A pathologist is a doctor who’s an
expert in testing cells to find disease. You may have
had biopsies of a tumor in your breast, lymph node,
or both sites.
All biopsy results are recorded in a pathology report.
A report will be written each time tissue is removed
from your body and tested for cancer. These reports
are vital to planning treatment.
It’s a good idea to get a copy of your pathology
report(s). Review your report(s) with your doctor.
Take notes. Ask questions if you don’t understand.
This information can be complex.
The pathologist will examine the samples using a
microscope. If cancer is present, he or she will study
the parts of the cancer cells to classify the disease.
This is called histologic typing. The pathology
report will state if the cancer started in the breast or
If breast cancer is found, the subtype will be noted
in the report. The most common subtype is ductal
breast cancer. Out of every 100 breast cancers,
about 85 to 90 are ductal cancers. These cancers
started in the breast ducts. Breast cancer can also
start in the lobules. These cancers are called lobular
breast cancer. There are other less common types of
breast cancer as well.
Lymph node biopsies
Breast cancer can spread to the
lymph nodes by your armpit.
Signs of cancer in lymph nodes
can be found with a physical
exam, imaging test, or both. If
a test suggests there’s cancer,
a biopsy is needed. An FNA
removes a small group of
cells and a core needle biopsy
removes a solid tissue sample.
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Cancer lab tests