Just had the results, but don't understand them!

Can anyone help me? I received my results yesterday and I’m a little baffled by all the information they gave me. Apparently the lump they removed is a 28mm Ductal Carcinoma. Grade 3 (scores T3 P3 M3), ER negative. Out of the 14 nodes removed, 1 was positive. The results for HER2 have not come back yet. They also need to remove more tissue after my Chemo! They also told me that there is a chance this cancer can return!

Please can anyone tell me if I received any good news? I’m a bit baffled by it all!



Hi Tracey

sorry you have had to join the club no-one wants to belong.

Grade 3 is the most aggresive cancer, and it has spread to just one of the lymph nodes, obviously it would be preferable if it had not gone to any of the lymph nodes but I believe having just gone to one is the next best thing to none.

Did they say you had clear margines following the lumpectompy, if not this could be a reason for further surgery following chemo. Unfortuanately no-one can say the cancer will never return to any of us, however you will be checked regularly which is something.

I too have grade 3, and had 3 tumours removed, measuing 7 cm in total. I have just had my 3rd chemo and as everyone on here will tellyou it is do-able if not pleasant

You will get lots of support on this site, you may also find it helpful to conact the helpline as the nurses are very good.

Take care and let us know how you are doing


Hi … my lump was 24mm, grade 3, 4 (of 14) nodes positive. In my case I was ER+/PR+, HER-negative.
That was November 2005 - and I’m doing just fine right now. Chemo and rads are a dim memory - and I’ve never regretted taking all the treatment available. Grade-3 tumours have the potential to spread faster, so from one viewpoint it is good news you have been caught with only one node positive. I can’t tell you what T3 P3 M3 means - I was never given that level of detail.

The good news is … chemo sounds ideal for your prognosis. Node positive (but only just), grade-3, ER-neg. You should get maximum-benefit from it. Also with ER-neg you generally don’t have to concern yourself with hormone-therapy (e.g. Tamoxifen) and the potential side-effects that come with that.

Good luck - hope treatment goes well for you.


Do you think you may have got the T3 P3 M3 wrong? Because it looks like TNM staging to me, but not quite right.

T relates to the size of the tumour. You would be T2, which is between 2 & 5 cm. T3 is more than 5cm

N relates to how the nodes are affected. With 1 node affected you would be N1. N3 relates to spread into more distant lymph nodes, eg by the collarbone.

M relates to spread beyond the breast & lymph nodes under the arm (metastases). M0 is no evidence of spread, M1 is evidence of spread to other parts of the body. There is no M3. I assume you are M0.

So you would be classified as T2 N1 M0.

As for the cancer returning - we all have that possibility. Once you have a dx of BC you can never be certain that it won’t come back, but with new treatments coming along all the time, more & more of us are surviving. The only problem is, there is no test to discover who it will come back in which is why you have been told it could come back.

HI tracey.

know how you feel just got my results yesterday and still trying to workout what they mean.


Most of us just find out that our cancer is grade 1 (least aggressive), grade 2 (intermediate) or grade 3 (most aggressive) but in fact these grades are made up of three features…each numbered 1,2 or 3:

First is the degree of tubule formulation I guess this is the T (well formed tubules are good)

Second is the nuclear grade (regularity in size and shape) I think this must be the P but don’t know what it stands for

Third is mitotic activity This is the M (frew mitosis good…whatever mitosis means!)

The scores of each feature are added up: 3-5 is grade 1

6-7 is grade 2

8-9 is grade 3

But this is all highly technical (got it from Susan Love’s Breast Book.)

Tracey: there are better pathology reports than yours and much worst ones. You will know a bit more when you get your her2 results (if+ then you can have herceptin, if - then this means a less aggressive tumour.)

Loads of people on this site have similar results to you. As others have siad we all face uncertainty. It is a bit of good news to be er+ because you have more treatment options.

very best wishes


Just to make a small contribution - I remember from the dim and distant past of Biology A level - mitosis is cell division. So i would guess a low score for mitotic activity means a slower growth rate.
Tracey x