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How long do biopsy Pathology reports take??
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How long do biopsy Pathology reports take??

My mom went in for a core-needle biopsy on an abnormal growth... it took forever for her to get the appointment because it's not a "normal" area for a mass to show up (her urethra!) and they wanted two different doctors to look at it.

My mom doesn't seem worried at all, but she's good about sheltering her concerns from us kids... At first I was worried because just from reading online, it seems that urethral cancer does not have a high success rate.

However, those worries were put to rest by the oncologist who did the biopsy... his exact words to me was that I could "stop worrying" because he'd "felt the mass, and it just doesn't feel like at all like it's cancerous. It just has the 'feel' of a plain old benign fat mass, like what would be found anywhere else in the body. In that case after the biopsy confirms it as benign, we'll just take it out no problem."

So I stopped worrying... but now I'm worried AGAIN! He said the pathology report should be back in a week, and it's been 12 days and they're not back yet and they can't tell us when they'll be done. I have read online that pathology reports can take as little as 24 hours, and only really complicated ones could take up to 5 business days.. but 12 DAYS? Is this a bad sign??

Thank you for your insight.
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242579_tn?1252114771
12 days is not necessarily bad news.

Rarely some 'complicated ones' as you have mentioned do take longer- this is because they need to run special stains or processing which adds to the duration of reporting. For example, the processed slide may be read on day X and the section maybe unsatisfactory or the tissue may need to be stained with a special stain. This then goes back to the tech who might need to cut more sections or run special stains on the section. This would add x+y days depending on the volume handled by the path lab.

Alternatively it could be a purely administrative issue- holidays, techs reporting sick etc etc etc

Again, 12 days does not automatically translate to bad news.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your speedy response.

I actually used to work in a diagnostic laboratory (but in Micro, not patho)... so I honestly figured that was the answer.... but I am also trying to be realistic and not get too "comfortable" with the Doc's initial "gut feeling" diagnosis, if there's a chance I might have to prepare myself emotionally for being a "shoulder" for my mom.

Since I don't know anything about the actual diagnostic procedures for benign versus metastatic tissues, I guess I just didn't know what was average (?) and what was something to start getting antzy about. Do you have any kind of ballpark idea as to how long it would take if there was a bunch of different stains to do? Another week? Longer?

I suppose I was thinking if it were benign that it would be a pretty simple staining procedure... In general, are "bad" cells more difficult to diagnose in a stain than benign cells? Or the other way around? Or is there really no correlation?
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