Positive for malignancy

November 2, 2023

Positive for malignancy means that cancer cells were seen in the tissue sample examined under the microscope. It is commonly used to report the results of a small tissue sample such as a core needle biopsy, fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB), or Pap smear. In pathology, the term “positive” means that something was seen or was present, and “malignancy” means cancer (a cancerous tumour is called malignant while a noncancerous tumour is called benign). This result does not specify the kind of cancer cells seen or whether the cancer cells started in that location or spread there from another part of the body (the movement of cancer cells from one part of the body to another is called metastasis). The term “positive for malignancy” can be used to describe various types of cancers including carcinoma, lymphoma, melanoma, and sarcoma.

About this article

This article was written by doctors to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us if you have questions about this article or your pathology report. For a complete introduction to your pathology report, read this article.

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