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I just received the pathology report that I mentioned in yesterday’s post from the lump removed last week from my Mom’s breast. As I mentioned, with this type of cancer this report is step one of two, with a biopsy of one or more lymph nodes next week being the second half of the picture. The combination of the reports will drive the doctor’s recommendation for treatment.

From the pathology report there were three findings:
1. Infiltrating ductal carcinoma (3.2 cm) moderately differentiated (grade II/III)….
2. Focal angiolymphatic and perineural invasion noted
3. Surgical margins free of malignancy

With a bit of studying I found that infiltrating ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer and in a nutshell it is a cancer that has penetrated the milk duct walls, as opposed to in situ which has not penetrated the duct walls. Even though the cancer cells have broken through the duct walls, the cancer often remains localized. That is to say that just because it is infiltrating versus in situ doesn’t necessarily mean it is a more aggressive cancer.

Item 2 kind of caught my attention. As a layman it kind of sounded like the cancer had invaded the lymphatic system. Again, with a bit of study it seems that the wording, from a pathologist’s view really just means that the cancer has the potential to have spread to the lymphatic system. That is the reason for next week’s biopsy.

Again, if my Mom was in the life insurance market, so far the news is good. The lump was small at 3.2 cm. The surgical margins were free of malignancy. With a good lymph node biopsy next week, she could be on the road toward good rates, post treatment of course.

Bottom line. Breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men are the types with the highest success rate for getting affordable life insurance post treatment. In a best case scenario there will be a one year waiting period after completion of treatment. The success rate with life insurance and the high survival rate are primarily due to improved screening and treatment methods.