The clinical stage of you tumor is often written on your medical record or is told to you by your surgeon as your "working" stage. In your medical record, it is denoted as a small c infront of the T, N and M that rea used to describe your cancer. It is based upon the "clinical" appearance or what teh doctor can tell by looking at your tests and using your physical exam as an inticator of your tumors stage. It will be updated as more information is obtained and your surgery or chemotherapy are completed.
For example cT1b, cN0, cM0 would be a clinical stage I breast cancer where the tumor was between .5cm and 1.0cm based upon US or physical exam and there were no lymph nodes palpable on clinical breast exam and there is no suspected spread outside of the breast.
The pathological stage of the breast cancer is determined after teh difinitive breast cancer sugery is performed and we have the actual "pathology" reports to determine size, whether -or-not the lymphnodes have tumor and so on.
For example if the above cancer was actually 1.2 CM in maximum diameter and the lymph nodes were negative for metastatic cancer cells, then the pathologic stage would be pT1c, pNo, cM0 of Stage I breast cancer.
This may all seem very confusing, but your doctor can help you to understand what your stage means.
- Breast Imaging
- Screening Studies
- Diagnostic Studies
- Abnormal Mammogram
- Breast Biopsy
- Post Op Instructions
- Breast Cancer
- Learning if You Have Breast Cancer
- Your Pathology Report
- Treatment Options