Stage of tumour

Can anyone tell me. When do you find out what grade your cancer is. I have been told the stage but not grade.


Hi Janey,

You are normally told the initial findings on your GRADE after your assessment biopsy. You won’t get full confirmation until after surgery, and also you will be told your STAGE after surgery. They can’t assess the stage until all the tumour and some lymph nodes have been looked at under microscope.

Hi Lola I think I have this the wrong way round…head is a shed at the moment …
thank you for putting me right. So I will get the stage of my cancer after surgery
Thanks x

I never got told my stage, I worked it out myself by looking on Macmillan website here:

of course, you won’t have the information to work it out until after surgery as Lola said. I was 2b.


Hi I was only told mine was stage 2, HER2 positive xx

If you don’t ask for copies of your path reports you may not get told very much at all. There will be path reports after the initial biopsy and after surgery, so if you want all the information I suggest you ask for a copy. I discovered very quickly that the medics filter out anything they think you won’t understand or anything they think irrelevant, even if it is vey relevant to you.

Linda is correct - from assessment biopsy they can look at tissue and tell the grade - i.e. how fast the cancer cells divide, how different they are from normal cells. Grade 1 = slow growing to Grade 3 = fast growing/more different to normal cells.
The stage is the extent of the cancer/how far it has spread. You could have tiny breast tumour but node involvement,which is a higher stage. You could have bigger breast tumour but no node involvement - a lower stage. The exact stage and grade will be known after all initial tests and surgery. The docs may want to do investigations like CT scan, if they suspect the stage is higher - i.e. more lymph nodes involved, or possibility of mets (i.e. outside the breast/axilla in other parts of body, stage 4).

That’s very true Lola, I didn’t get told about the vascular invasion until just before cycle 5 of chemo!!

Interestingly, stage was never mentioned in any of my reports or in any of the consultations. When we were looking at prognosis for my particular sub-type, my oncologist showed me statistics for tumours less than 2cm without node involvement. So, like Poemsgalore, I worked out my own staging from this information!
Diane xx

I think some hospitals/consultants don’t use stage nowadays because there are many other variables that determine prognosis and treatment eg grade, receptor status.
I worked out that mine must be stage 2, but when I asked the consultant he said they don’t use stages any more.

Hi I haven’t got my grade yet even though they did four core biopsies on the 14th of June. Had WLE and SNB on 12th July and get the results of those today, so hopefully I will get more information grade etc this afternoon.
Maggie x

Good luck for today Maggie, sounds like you had the same as me, my op was 6th June, 3 lymph nodes and a lumpectomy xx