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Nearly half of sarcoma surgeries done by nonsurgical oncology specialists
Date:7/8/2013

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) Orthopedic oncologists and surgical oncologists, who have been trained in the complex procedures required to remove sarcomas located deep in the muscles and other soft tissues of the limbs, conducted only 52 percent of these operations at 85 academic medical centers during a three year period, according to an analysis of national data by UC Davis researchers that is published online today in the Journal of Surgical Oncology.

The remaining 48 percent of these sarcoma surgeries were conducted by general surgeons, plastic surgeons and orthopedic surgeons, whose post-medical degree fellowship training did not emphasize the multi-disciplinary evaluation and surgical management of sarcomas and other cancers located deep in the soft tissue of the arms and legs, said Robert J. Canter, associate professor of surgery at UC Davis and first author of the journal article.

The UC Davis study is the first to examine the overall frequency and distribution nationwide of the different surgical specialists who remove sarcomas and other deep-seated tumors in the soft tissue of patients' limbs.

"Our findings may have significant implications for the quality of care provided to patients who undergo surgery to resect, or remove, sarcomas in the deep soft tissue of the limbs," said Canter, a surgical oncologist.

Canter explained that only orthopedic oncologists and surgical oncologists, but not general surgeons, plastic surgeons and orthopedic surgeons, have been trained in how to remove sarcomas from muscles and other soft tissue without leaving behind cancerous cells that could trigger another tumor. Studies have shown that achieving tumor-free margins improves the long-term survival of cancer patients.

Patients whose sarcomas are not diagnosed until after the surgery often require a second operation to remove remaining cancer cells, Canter said. A repeat operation puts the patient at risk again for surgi
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Contact: Dorsey Griffith
dorsey.griffith@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9118
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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