Pathology Report Shows "Slow-Growing" Cancer?

Last Modified: January 24, 2012

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Question

How can my doctor tell from the pathology report that a cancer is "slow-growing?"

Answer

James Metz, MD, OncoLink Editor In Chief, responds:

It is difficult to tell how quickly a tumor is growing based on a pathology report. Some tumors can look more benign then others. However, the true test is time. If there are serial scans over time showing a tumor is slowly evolving, this really gives the best information. If a patient has a recurrent tumor many years after an original diagnosis, the tumor has declared itself as slow growing.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Interpreting Test Results transcript.