The Who, What, Where, When and Sometimes, Why.

Tumor Size

Tumor size is related to survival and is part of breast cancer staging. In general, the smaller the tumor, the better survival tends to be.

A health care provider can estimate the size of the tumor if it can be felt during a physical exam. Images from a breast ultrasound or mammogram are also used to estimate tumor size.

However, the best way to measure the entire tumor is after it’s been surgically removed from the breast. The pathologist will take measurements and record them in your pathology report.

Learn more about pathology reports.

Learn about tumor size and breast cancer stage

Tumor size and neoadjuvant therapy

In some cases, treatment with drug therapy (such as chemotherapy) may be given before breast surgery. When treatment is given before surgery, it’s called neoadjuvant therapy or preoperative therapy.

Neoadjuvant therapy may be able to change breast cancer surgery options. It may shrink a large tumor enough so a lumpectomy (plus radiation therapy) becomes an option instead of a mastectomy [109].

Learn more about neoadjuvant therapy.

Learn more about breast cancer surgery and radiation therapy.

Updated 05/10/24