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6 Helpful Tips for Getting Pathology Results

Updated September 27, 2010

  1. Be patient. Waiting is hard, but it can take several days to get the complete report. Some tests are done in different laboratories, and not all may be done in the hospital where you had surgery.
  2. Try not to fixate on any single piece of information. All the results taken together will provide a complete profile of the cancer.
  3. Ask your treatment team about the lab’s (or labs’) level of experience in diagnosing breast cancer and performing the other tests.
  4. Find out how you will get the results, and ask for copies of all reports. Will someone contact you each time a result is available, or will results be held until testing is done? Find out whether you can call your doctor’s office for results or you need to schedule an appointment. Get copies for your own records and second opinions.
  5. Take someone with you when you get the pathology report. It can be helpful to have a friend or relative along who can listen with you, take notes or even record the conversation (with your doctor’s permission).
  6. Ask how and where your tissue will be prepared and stored, in case more or repeat tests need to be done on the samples.

Read about the providers who helped us write this page in the Guide to Understanding Treatment Decisions.