What Is the Correct Procedure for Handling the Surgical Specimen
In spite of recent developments in the pre-operative imaging of rectal cancer, pathological examination of the operative specimen remains a key part of the management of rectal cancer. The pathologist’s report allows the patient to be placed in a prognostic category, indicates the likelihood of tumour recurrence and determines the need for post-operative adjuvant therapy. A good macroscopic description, especially when supplemented with high-quality digital images, facilitates audit of the quality of radiology and surgery. Accurate recording of a minimum standardised pathological dataset is vital to stratification and interpretation of clinical trials, comparison of outcomes between different centres and health care systems and evaluating the impact of population-based interventions such as bowel cancer screening and the conduct of epidemiological studies.
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