Practice patterns and perceptions of margin status for breast conserving surgery for breast carcinoma: National Survey of Canadian General Surgeons
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BACKGROUND: We surveyed Canadian General Surgeons to examine decision-making in early stage breast cancer. METHODS: A modified Dillman Method was used for this mail survey of 1443 surgeons. Practice patterns and factors that influence management choices for: preoperative assessment, definition of margin status, surgical techniques and recommendations for re-excision were assessed. RESULTS: The response rate was 51% with 41% treating breast cancer. Most (80%) were community surgeons, with equal distribution of low/medium/high volume and years of practice categories. Approximately 25% of surgeons "sometimes or frequently" performed diagnostic excisional biopsies while 90% report "frequently" or "always" performing preoperative core biopsies. There was marked variation in defining negative and close margins, in the use of intra-operative margin assessment techniques and recommendations for re-excision. CONCLUSIONS: Responses revealed significant variation in attitudes and practices. These findings likely reflect an absence of consensus in the literature and potential gaps between best evidence and practice.
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