Stage 2 breast cancer

No clear margins breast cancer

Answer:Margins, also known as "margins of resection, " refer to the distance between a tumor and the edge of the surrounding tissue that's removed along with it.

When a tumor is removed, some tissue surrounding it is also removed. The tumor with surrounding tissue is rolled in a special ink so that the outer edges, or margins, are clearly visible under a microscope. A pathologist checks the tissue under a microscope to see if the margins are free of cancer cells.

Depending upon what the pathologist sees, the margins of a tumor are described as:

  • Positive margins: Cancer cells extend out to the edge of the tissue, where the ink is.
  • Negative margins: No cancer cells are found in the ink.
  • Close margins: Any situation that falls between positive and negative is considered "close."

Knowing how close cancer cells are to the edge of the removed tissue helps in making the right treatment decisions. This is especially important in deciding whether additional surgery is needed. If the margins are positive, more surgery is needed. If the margins are close, you may or may not need more surgery. If the margins are negative, you probably don't need more surgery.

The definition of "negative margins" varies from one hospital to another. You may want to ask your doctor whether your margins were positive, negative, or close, and how "negative" is defined by your medical team.

To help standardize this definition, the American Society for Radiation Oncology and the Society of Surgical Oncology issued new guidelines in February 2014 saying that clear margins, no matter how small as long as there was no ink on the cancer tumor, should be the standard for lumpectomy surgery.

To get more help in understanding your pathology report, read the transcript of our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference, "Your Pathology Report."

Shipping by airmail from UK: items normally reach US addresses within a few days but can take longer THE STOCK EXCHANGE: The clearing House. London, antique print c1880
Home (Shipping by airmail from UK: items normally reach US addresses within a few days but can take longer)
  • Caption below print: The clearing house
  • Condition: Good; suitable for framing. However, please note: Verso text quite apparent in margin; The image shown may have been taken from a different example of...
  • Size: 14.0 x 14.0cm, 5.5 x 5.5 inches (Small)
  • Type & Age: Year printed c1880. Antique wood engraved print
  • Verso: There are images and/or text printed on the reverse side of the picture which are likely to show through the page to some extent because the paper is quite...
Shipping by airmail from UK: items normally reach US addresses within a few days but can take longer LONDON: Clearing House, Lombard St, antique print, 1847
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  • Caption below print: The Clearing-House, in Lombard-Street
  • Condition: Good; suitable for framing. Please check the scan for any blemishes prior to making your purchase.
  • Size: 14.5 x 23.5cm, 5.75 x 9.25 inches (Medium)
  • Type & Age: Year printed 1847. Antique wood engraved print
  • Verso: There are images and/or text printed on the reverse side of the picture. In some cases this may be visible on the picture itself (please check the scan prior...
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