Post Op Pathology Margins

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Hi Everyone 

I am 1 Month post op now and yesterday received a call from my Surgeon with the pathology results of what was removed. I must admit it caught me on the hop and I am trying to make sense of what he said. He started off by saying it was a mixed bag…..apparently it showed clear margins of healthy tissue, however at one point that margin was only 1mm, which puts me at higher risk and also makes the post Op FLOT very important. He also said that 6 of the 28 Lymph nodes had cancer cells. 
I am really not sure what to feel about this. Should I be happy and thankful for that 1mm (I guess I should) or nervous and apprehensive that this isn’t over? 
Thanks for reading. 

  • Hi Gareth, well done with your journey so far. 

    I'd take all that info as a win. Don't worry more than is necessary. 1mm or 10mm it's not in the margin that they joined back together so all is well. If it was me I would ask for a future appointment for an endoscopy in a few months time guided by your surgeon and forget about it and concentrate on getting better ready for next chemo.

    I have also had OC but am all finished now as of December 23.

    Good luck with the rest of your journey.

    Best regards


  • Hi Gareth,

    It may be, that regardless of what results had come back you would have always been nervous and apprehensive, just in case! But I think these results are positive and put you in a strong position especially having the post op FLOT to ensure everything is captured as best as possible. 

    It is only natural (I think) to be apprehensive, and this keeps us on our toes a little more, so it is fine to feel both ways actually. 

    I wish you on going success, and hope that you will be less anxious and nervous with time. 


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  • It's strange how different doctors word the same thing. My clear margin was only 0.5mm, but with 2 nodes positive. However, he said I was therefore clear of cancer and and all the nodes had been taken anyway, and was even debating with himself as to whether I'd have post-op FLOT!

    I said I did want it, as that's always been the plan, and I didn't care how hard it was. He agreed I could have it as a 'belt and bracers' approach. He seemed very confident to me, that all was OK though.

    I'm now having round 3 post-op FLOT tomorrow, and I have to say it's been a lot easier than the pre-op. I haven't lost my taste or my hair this time, and have recovered a bit of energy after a week. The nausea is worse, but strong meds are keeping that at bay. With the first lot I was ill the whole two weeks between rounds, and had 2 delays because of it. Whizzing through this time though, and the chemo nurse said to me yesterday that it's probably easier because it isn't fighting anything now.

    My consultant also said that in the UK a 1mm margin is what they aim for, in the US a 0.5mm margin is deemed safe, but a clear margin is exactly that... clear. He was happy with mine at just 0.5mm, so 1mm is definitely good. I'd take that and be positive going forward. Any mopping up you have will be a good thing too.