sandkeeper wrote:I was just going through my records before my next meeting with the oncologist, and noticed the pathology report listed a distance of 18mm between the edge of the tumour and the closest margin (probably the distal margin since my tumour was sigmoid/rectosigmoid and I had a sigmoid colectomy).
We all know that clear margins are a good thing, but doesn't 18mm seem a little close? I know in rectal cancer surgeons often work with closer margins, but those are aided by the chemoradiation which I didn't have - I'm firmly classified as a colon cancer patient.
I'd be interested to know what the margin distances of others were. I can't find too much about this and wondering if I'm overthinking this.
I had to go back to my pathology report for this one, but here's what I'm reading...
"...mass is located 4.5 cm from the nearer resection margin and 6.0 cm from the farther resection margin." It goes on to say that "...fragments of mucosa and serosa measuring 1.5 and 4.5 cm each displayed embedded sutures and sections are labeled as 'A1. Margin closer to mass en face; A2. Margin farther from mass en face; A3. Mesenteric margin closest to mass en face."
Not sure what that last part means. I'm assuming it's measurements of the end pieces of the resection.
With regard to what constitutes "clear margins," Breastcancer.org had this to say:
"In some hospitals, doctors want 2 millimeters (mm) or more of normal tissue between the edge of the cancer and the outer edge of the removed tissue. In other hospitals, though, doctors consider a 1-mm rim of healthy tissue — and sometimes even smaller than that — to be a clear margin. As you talk with your doctor about whether your margins were clear, positive, or close, you also can ask how “clear” is defined by your medical team."
I saw these measurements echoed in an article about prostate cancer as well. Another article noted that a more aggressive type cancer might indicate the desire for up to 6mm for clear margins, but this seemed to be unsubstantiated or at least unconfirmed as of the time the article was written, which was 2017.
So I'd say your 18mm measurement would be a great follow-up question for your surgeon. 18mm is 1.8 cm (Susie had the right conversion math). That might not seem big, but if you measure out it's about .7 of an inch. When dealing with microscopic things like cells that's probably better than it sounds. Again, all good stuff to ask, but try not to let it stress you out.
Hope this helps!