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

cal complications, he noted.

A sarcoma can be diagnosed before surgery by needle biopsy. However, because sarcomas are rare, many general surgeons, plastic surgeons and orthopedic surgeons may not consider that the tumor could be a sarcoma before operating on the patient, Canter said.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 11,410 new soft tissue sarcomas will be diagnosed and 4,390 Americans are expected to die of soft tissue sarcomas in 2013. About 50 percent of soft tissue sarcomas occur in the limbs.

Most tumors in muscles and other soft tissue are sarcomas, said Canter. Approximately 50 percent of these sarcomas are at risk for spreading to other tissues in the body.

When the tumor is diagnosed as a sarcoma before the operation, the surgeon can carefully evaluate the cancer to determine whether radiation or chemotherapy will be needed to reduce the size of the tumor and whether a plastic surgeon or a vascular surgeon should be part of the surgical team. Canter said a patient's need for physical therapy or occupational therapy after the operation also is taken into consideration during the pre-surgical evaluation and planning period.

These considerations led both the U.S. National Comprehensive Cancer Network and European Society of Medical Oncology to develop guidelines recommending that surgeons with expertise and training in the management of soft tissue sarcomas should operate on patients with tumors that may be sarcomas.

The UC Davis researchers' analysis also revealed that 17% of these operations were performed during 2007 to 2009 by surgeons who conducted an average of only one or two of these surgeries each year. Previous studies have shown that better clinical outcomes result when the surgeon performs a greater volume of these specialized operations.

Canter and his collaborators determined that during 2007 to 2009 sarcoma surgeries were performed by 2,195 general surgeons, 1
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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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