Pathology 101: How a pathology report explains cancer

Pathology reports on suspected cancer say if a patient has a malignancy, type of cancer and if it has spread

mammary carcinoma

In a pathology report, the diagnosis section provides the location of the tumor, its type and grade, and size.

 

Chances are, the treatment plan for your cancer was determined by the results on a pathology report. Before your diagnosis, you probably had a biopsy or surgery where a doctor removed cells or tissue for study under a microscope. Specialists called pathologists spend their days viewing these samples, understanding how they look compared to normal cells and preparing reports which summarize the findings on each biopsy for oncologists and surgeons.

We spoke with Cancer Center pathologist, Celina Kleer, M.D., director of the Breast Pathology Division in the Department of Pathology,to find out the information contained in a report and how your oncologist uses it to decide the best course of treatment for your cancer. Continue reading

An inconclusive genetic test result: what does it mean?

Questions you can ask to help understand

An inconclusive genetic test result is called a VUS, for genetic variant of unknown significance

Genetic test results are either positive, negative, or less commonly, VUS. This stands for genetic variant of unknown significance.

Most results of genetic testing for inherited susceptibility for cancer are either negative (meaning no gene mutation or change was found) or positive (meaning a gene mutation that causes an increased risk for cancer was found). However, a small portion of tests result in an inconcolusive genetic test result, or what is termed a variant of unknown or uncertain significance, or VUS.

A VUS is a change in the normal sequence of a gene, where the significance of the change is unclear until further study of a sufficiently large population. Complete gene sequencing often identifies many variants for a given gene. Continue reading

Patients and advocacy groups boost adrenal cancer research

Latest advances subject of international symposium in Ann Arbor

Adrenal cancer

Visualizing new potential targets in ACC. This fluorescence microscopy image shows expression of ZNRF3 (green) in the normal mouse adrenal gland. Collaborative research efforts, including The Cancer Genome Atlas project, have recently mapped the genetic landscape of human ACC tumors and identified ZNRF3 as one of the most commonly altered genes in ACC. Image courtesy of Kaitlin Basham, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Hammer Laboratory) and Heather Rose Kornick Adrenocortical Cancer Research Scholar

 

mCancerPartner sat down with Gary Hammer, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Endocrine Oncology Program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center, to discuss the program’s most recent developments in adrenal cancer research and patient care.

mCancerPartner: Why is collaboration so important in treating adrenal cancer?

Dr. Hammer: Adrenal cancer, or ACC, is very rare, with less than a thousand people diagnosed with it each year in the United States. In adults, it is most often diagnosed at an advanced stage, so for many, the prognosis is dismal. Collaboration is essential because no one hospital sees enough of these patients to advance research or clinical care. Continue reading

Dia De La Familia Latina this Sunday, October 4

A free, fun event for all ages

Dia De La Familia LatinaThis free Latino-focused family event takes place during National Hispanic Heritage Month and features entertainment, games, crafts, food and face painting! Health information addressing mental, physical, and social issues in the Latino community will be available. Dia De La Familia Latina is sponsored by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Ann Arbor District Library. Información del evento en español (PDF).
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Calling out to breast cancer survivors

A chance for you to help improve breast cancer care

breast cancer survivorsLast year, the Cancer AnswerLine ™ nurses had the opportunity to start working with the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer and Advocacy Committee. When I attended my first meeting with this group, I was pleasantly surprised. I had a pre-conceived notion this would be a group of women working on a smaller scale like hosting bake sales to raise money for breast cancer. Instead, I found that this group of smart women has really made an impact on breast cancer treatment. They are currently looking for new members. Continue reading

Safe handling at home of medications and waste

safe handlingWhether your cancer treatment is oral or intravenous, some medications may be harmful to those who live with you. Limiting exposure of other people to your pills and body fluids is your best bet to keeping everyone safe, even if the effect would be minimal.

Keeping prescription medication away from others sounds simple, but cancer therapy can be complex. Here are some general tips to ensure a safe home environment: Continue reading