What do I do if I have a positive biopsy?

Breast cancer comes in many forms, and depending on where it has been located, it is ‘staged’ so your medical team know best how to treat it.

You will want to know if your cancer is “in situ” or if it is invasive. An in situ cancer is one that has originated in a duct and has not moved to any other location in the breast or body. Invasive cancer is one which originated in a duct or lobule (tiny part of the breast that makes milk) and has spread to other breast tissue. This type of cancer has the potential to spread via the lymph nodes or the blood stream to other parts of the body.

The speed at which the cancer is likely to spread is determined by the pathologists who study the arrangement of the cancer cells and give it a grade. This tells the medical team how quickly the cancer is likely to spread. Your doctor can then choose the best treatment to treat your cancer.

Another question to have answered is whether or not the tumor is HER2 positive. These types of tumors have a high level of a protein called HER2/neu. It has been found that tumors testing positive for HER2 are more aggressive in spreading to other parts of the body. These tumors can be treated with drugs that target the HER2/neu protein.

Some tumors respond to hormone therapy but some do not. Your breast biopsy will include findings on whether or not the particular type of cancer you have will respond well to hormone therapy.

Make sure you ask your doctor about any concerns or confusions you have about your test results. If you are wondering, “what do I do if I have a positive biopsy?”, you should seek assistance from a breast specialist, who can help give you the appropriate treatment and any more information that may be needed. Understanding the results of your biopsy is important to your ability to make the best choices possible concerning your treatment plan.

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