Assessment Of Excision Margins
When assessing skin cancer specimens, the pathologist must address three main questions: what is the lesion; what prognostic information can be inferred; and is the lesion completely excised? In many instances, the assessment of the margins is the most important part of the pathological examination, since most skin cancers can be cured by complete excision.
It is salutary to note that ‘recurrent’ skin cancers are very often the result of recrudescence of a lesion that was incorrectly reported as having been completely excised.
As a general rule, the more thoroughly a skin specimen is sampled, the more likely the margin status will be reported correctly. When a specimen arrives in the laboratory, it is inspected by a scientist. The scientist will selectively sample the specimen, depending on its type and size, the size of any lesion and the clinical history.
Different laboratories have ...