Results letter understanding

Hi, finally received my letter detailing results of mastectomy and full node clearance (nearly 6 weeks ago)

I’m comfortable understanding what grade 3 invasive ductwork carcinoma is for my first lump but the rest of it was not explained in results appointment-

Foci of intra-tumoural low grade non-necrotising and non calcifying ducts carcinoma in situ (I’m assuming this is my second lump they took a biopsy of, which came back positive for cancer) but please help me….what do all those terms mean?

Also how do I have no lymphovascular invasion,BUT 1 lymph node was macrometastadis with extracapsular spread. My understanding is the no lymph vascular invasion should result in no positive lymph nodes.

I’m desperately trying to understand what they have removed, but google is not helping….please help x 

Hi roxywanda 

Thanks for posting.  

It’s understandable to ask what all the different terms mean on your results letter following your mastectomy and axillary node clearance.  

Although we are unable to comment on individual pathology results and explain what the terms may mean for you, we can explain some of the terms you mention.  

You mention that the letter says a focus of low-grade ductal carcinoma in situ, this is an early form of non-invasive breast cancer and is often referred to as DCIS.  You can read about the different grades here.  

You also ask about having a positive lymph node without having lymphovascular invasion.  

The breast contains blood vessels and other tiny tubes called lymph vessels. If breast cancer cells spread into these vessels, it’s called lymphovascular invasion. This increases the chances of the breast cancer spreading to somewhere else in the body. Having lymphovascular invasion is different from having breast cancer in the lymph nodes.  Our booklet understanding your pathology results has further information that you may find helpful.  

You say that you had an appointment to discuss your results, but not everything in your letter was explained.  Your treatment team are best placed to discuss what your surgery results mean for you, and where the focus of DCIS was within the breast and if it was the second lump that was biopsied.  If you have a breast care nurse it may be helpful to contact her so that she can answer any further questions you have.  

We offer a range of free supportive services for anyone who has had a diagnosis of breast cancer which you may be interested in. 

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Best wishes 


Breast Care Nurse 

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