[Histonet] Re: Minimum sample size for breast markers

Bob Richmond rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com
Thu Sep 12 12:55:58 CDT 2013

Pathologists need to be very ready to note that a breast cancer sample size
is small, and that the markers need to be repeated on the lumpectomy or
mastectomy specimen.

This is easier said than done. Popping a Dolly-size breast into too-small
container and dribbling a little formalin on it is not going to preserve
the specimen adequately. Even with a moderate-sized lumpectomy specimen the
formaldehyde penetration is going to be chancy.

This is an issue that surgeons, OR nurses, and too many pathologists are
unable to understand. The pathologist has to arrange to receive the
specimen promptly and get the tumor cut into formalin. Easier said than

The woman's cancer care depends on this getting done. It's non-trivial. And
colon cancer is distinctly the next frontier for this problem.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Maryville TN

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