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"How does the grade of my tumor after a breast biopsy affect me?"


I was told I have a grade 2 tumor. Will I need a mastectomy?


I am sorry that you have to fight the fight against breast cancer, and wish you the best. You are in the company of some of the bravest people I know, and you can be successful. There are several things that go into the prognosis of breast cancer, as well as determining which treatment will be the best for you.

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Your grade is a measure that is used of what you cancer cells look like under a microscope when the pathologist is reviewing the specimen that was sent by your surgeon. Breast cancer has 3 grades of tumors. Grade 1 lesions look very similar to normal breast tissue, and there is not much difference under a microscope. As the tumor loses some of it's similarity to normal breast tissue, it becomes grade 2 and then grade 3. The way that it looks is, to some degree, a reflection of the amount of mutations that the cells in the cancer have undergone. As all cancer cells started as normal cells, it makes sense that more mutations mean that the cancer cells have deteriorated, and are called less "differentiated," meaning that they look less like the final, differentiated breast tissue. Grade 3 lesions often spread more quickly and don't behave as well. As for your treatment needs, only you and your oncologist will be able to determine the appropriate therapy, and that decision will include more than just your tumor grade. Please speak to him or her with your questions.

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