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Definition of “metastic” disease

Forums General Melanoma Community Definition of “metastic” disease

  • Post
    nicoli
    Participant

    Hello,

    Such a simple question that I asked my oncologist and surgeon but I can't seem to get a clear answer…….

    When a pathology report says "there is no sign of metastic disease", does this just mean there is no TUMOR or does this mean there are NO CANCER CELLS? 

    Hello,

    Such a simple question that I asked my oncologist and surgeon but I can't seem to get a clear answer…….

    When a pathology report says "there is no sign of metastic disease", does this just mean there is no TUMOR or does this mean there are NO CANCER CELLS? 

    I first questioned this when I had my neck dissection to remove 23 lymph nodes. One showed "signs of metastic disease" and listed no dimensions of a tumor.  I asked my oncologist at the time what exactly that means and she said that she would have to call the lab to get the answer and she never got around to it. (which is one reason why she is my "first" oncologist!)

    Thanks,

    Nicki, Stage 3b, diagnosed December, 2009, scalp, surgeries (3), local recurrance October 2010, biochemo, currently radiating my scalp to (hopefully!) prevent recurrances.

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      Janner
      Participant

      If it is part of a pathology (biopsy) report, then it means in the samples they examined, there were no cancer cells found.  Even one melanoma cell seen would be termed "metastatic disease".  If this were part of a scan, then it would be more likely to mean there are no tumors.  Scans can't analyze things at the cellular level, their resolution is such that a tumor needs to be several millimeters to show up.

      Best wishes,

      Janner.

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      Janner
      Participant

      If it is part of a pathology (biopsy) report, then it means in the samples they examined, there were no cancer cells found.  Even one melanoma cell seen would be termed "metastatic disease".  If this were part of a scan, then it would be more likely to mean there are no tumors.  Scans can't analyze things at the cellular level, their resolution is such that a tumor needs to be several millimeters to show up.

      Best wishes,

      Janner.

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