For some patients, the extent and pathology of a breast tumor is unknown until a surgeon has retrieved a tissue sample. At the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, an on-site pathologist performs a microscopic exam of the tissue sample while the patient is still under anesthesia. After consulting with the pathologist, the surgeon can then decide if it's necessary to remove more tissue - potentially allowing a patient to avoid a second procedure.
This surgical approach, which is performed in a state-of-the-art facility at the East Ann Arbor Ambulatory Surgery Center, may be an option for patients with invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ. It is not offered to patients whose treatment plans call for more than one surgery - for example, those who are undergoing sentinel node biopsy for a planned mastectomy and reconstruction.
This approach allows for the surgeon and pathologist to interact so that everyone fully understands the patient's individual situation.
Still have questions?The nurses at Cancer AnswerLine™ have answers. Call 1-800-865-1125 and you'll get a personal response from one of our registered nurses, who have years of experience in caring for people with cancer.