Pathology dictionary -


Prognosis describes a doctor's best estimate about the course of a disease and the likelihood of recovery. Conversations between a doctor and a patient about prognosis are common after a cancer diagnosis although it can apply to any medical condition.


A disease that can be cured through surgery or other forms of medical care are usually referred to as having a "good" prognosis. Diseases with good prognosis are rarely the direct cause of death for a patient. In contrast, diseases that are likely to come back, spread to other parts of the body, or result in death are usually referred to as having a "poor" prognosis.


Prognosis is determined by a variety of factors including the pathological features of the tumour, how early the cancer was discovered, how far the cancer has spread, and the patient’s overall health.


Prognostic factors

Specific pathological features that provide information about prognosis are called prognostic factors. One of  the most important roles of a pathologist is to examine a tumour for specific prognostic factors and to carefully document them in your pathology report.


Important prognostic factors that may be in your pathology report include:



This information is important both for patient education and planning treatment.

Learn more about the most important pathologic features in a cancer report.

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