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November 2022

Your pathology report

The breast tissue removed during a biopsy is sent to a pathology laboratory where it is analysed by a pathologist. Pathologists are doctors who look at the tissue under a microscope and determine whether or not the tissue contains cancer.

The pathologist writes a report of the findings, including the diagnosis, and sends it to your treating doctor.

Together with other test results and any X-rays or other imaging, the pathology report contains all the relevant information that your doctors (i.e. oncologist, radiologist, surgeon and pathologist) and you will require to plan for your treatment.

Findings on a pathology report

Your pathology report contains the information that describes your diagnosis.

The pathology report includes identifying information (such as the patient’s name, birth date, medical record number and biopsy or surgery date) and details about where in the body the specimen is from and how it was obtained. It typically includes a gross description (a visual description) of the specimen, a microscopic description, and a final diagnosis. It may also include a section for comments by the pathologist. 

Pathology reports are written in medical language because they are prepared for health care providers. So, they can be overwhelming, a bit scary and confusing.  

Your health care provider (either your surgeon or your oncologist) will go over the main findings of the report with you and answer any questions you may have.

Get a copy of your pathology report

You should request for a copy of your pathology report for your medical records.

It can be hard to take in all the findings at once. It’s helpful to have a copy of the report you can refer to later.