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Simple guidelines for efficient referral of soft-tissue sarcomas: a population-based evaluation of adherence to guidelines and referral patterns.

Styring, Emelie LU ; Billing, Vibeke; Hartman, L; Nilbert, Mef LU ; Seinen, J M; Veurink, N; Vult von Steyern, Fredrik LU and Rydholm, Anders LU (2012) In Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume 94(14). p.1291-1296
Abstract
BACKGROUND:

Optimal treatment of soft-tissue sarcoma requires multidisciplinary management at a sarcoma center. However, these rare tumors are often misinterpreted as benign and many are inadequately treated outside a sarcoma center, with an increased risk of local recurrence that often requires further extensive surgical treatment. To improve referral and centralization of soft-tissue sarcoma management in the southern Sweden health care region, an open-access outpatient clinic at our sarcoma center and simple referral guidelines have been established for the past thirty years. The guidelines call for referral of all deep-seated soft-tissue tumors and of all ≥5-cm superficial tumors before open biopsy or surgery. We evaluated... (More)
BACKGROUND:

Optimal treatment of soft-tissue sarcoma requires multidisciplinary management at a sarcoma center. However, these rare tumors are often misinterpreted as benign and many are inadequately treated outside a sarcoma center, with an increased risk of local recurrence that often requires further extensive surgical treatment. To improve referral and centralization of soft-tissue sarcoma management in the southern Sweden health care region, an open-access outpatient clinic at our sarcoma center and simple referral guidelines have been established for the past thirty years. The guidelines call for referral of all deep-seated soft-tissue tumors and of all ≥5-cm superficial tumors before open biopsy or surgery. We evaluated adherence to these guidelines and characterized referral patterns. We also studied the consequences of our strategy with regard to the relative numbers of benign and malignant diagnoses among referred patients.

METHODS:

Adherence to guidelines, referral pathways, and time to referral to the sarcoma center were analyzed in a population-based series of 100 consecutive patients with soft-tissue sarcoma in the extremities or trunk wall. We also analyzed diagnosis and management of benign and malignant tumors in a second cohort consisting of 464 consecutive patients referred to the sarcoma center because of a soft-tissue tumor.



RESULTS:

Ninety-seven of the 100 patients with soft-tissue sarcoma were referred to the sarcoma center. All fifty-eight of the deep-seated soft-tissue sarcomas and twenty-eight of the forty-two superficial tumors were referred before open biopsy or surgery. Three-quarters of the patients with soft-tissue sarcoma first presented to a general practitioner. One-quarter of these patients were directly referred to the sarcoma center, which cut the referral time in half compared with patients initially referred to a local hospital. One-quarter of all patients referred to the outpatient clinic were diagnosed with a malignancy, with the majority of the malignancies being soft-tissue sarcoma.



CONCLUSIONS:

Our simple referral guidelines and open-access outpatient clinic resulted in nearly complete referral of patients with soft-tissue sarcoma to the sarcoma center. The "excess work" associated with referral of benign tumors according to our strategy was limited to the diagnosis of three benign tumors for each malignant tumor. We consider this surplus evaluation of benign tumors acceptable and probably necessary to achieve a high referral rate of soft-tissue sarcoma before initial surgery.



LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume
volume
94
issue
14
pages
1291 - 1296
publisher
Journal Bone Joint Surgery Inc
external identifiers
  • wos:000306725700006
  • pmid:22810399
  • scopus:84864119827
ISSN
1535-1386
DOI
10.2106/JBJS.K.01271
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8da5c2c1-e2bd-4939-abd5-7683bf08d8d8 (old id 2966924)
alternative location
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22810399?dopt=Abstract
date added to LUP
2012-08-09 20:55:49
date last changed
2017-10-01 03:21:57
@article{8da5c2c1-e2bd-4939-abd5-7683bf08d8d8,
  abstract     = {BACKGROUND:<br/><br>
Optimal treatment of soft-tissue sarcoma requires multidisciplinary management at a sarcoma center. However, these rare tumors are often misinterpreted as benign and many are inadequately treated outside a sarcoma center, with an increased risk of local recurrence that often requires further extensive surgical treatment. To improve referral and centralization of soft-tissue sarcoma management in the southern Sweden health care region, an open-access outpatient clinic at our sarcoma center and simple referral guidelines have been established for the past thirty years. The guidelines call for referral of all deep-seated soft-tissue tumors and of all ≥5-cm superficial tumors before open biopsy or surgery. We evaluated adherence to these guidelines and characterized referral patterns. We also studied the consequences of our strategy with regard to the relative numbers of benign and malignant diagnoses among referred patients.<br/><br>
METHODS:<br/><br>
Adherence to guidelines, referral pathways, and time to referral to the sarcoma center were analyzed in a population-based series of 100 consecutive patients with soft-tissue sarcoma in the extremities or trunk wall. We also analyzed diagnosis and management of benign and malignant tumors in a second cohort consisting of 464 consecutive patients referred to the sarcoma center because of a soft-tissue tumor.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
RESULTS:<br/><br>
Ninety-seven of the 100 patients with soft-tissue sarcoma were referred to the sarcoma center. All fifty-eight of the deep-seated soft-tissue sarcomas and twenty-eight of the forty-two superficial tumors were referred before open biopsy or surgery. Three-quarters of the patients with soft-tissue sarcoma first presented to a general practitioner. One-quarter of these patients were directly referred to the sarcoma center, which cut the referral time in half compared with patients initially referred to a local hospital. One-quarter of all patients referred to the outpatient clinic were diagnosed with a malignancy, with the majority of the malignancies being soft-tissue sarcoma.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
CONCLUSIONS:<br/><br>
Our simple referral guidelines and open-access outpatient clinic resulted in nearly complete referral of patients with soft-tissue sarcoma to the sarcoma center. The "excess work" associated with referral of benign tumors according to our strategy was limited to the diagnosis of three benign tumors for each malignant tumor. We consider this surplus evaluation of benign tumors acceptable and probably necessary to achieve a high referral rate of soft-tissue sarcoma before initial surgery.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:<br/><br>
Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.},
  author       = {Styring, Emelie and Billing, Vibeke and Hartman, L and Nilbert, Mef and Seinen, J M and Veurink, N and Vult von Steyern, Fredrik and Rydholm, Anders},
  issn         = {1535-1386},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {14},
  pages        = {1291--1296},
  publisher    = {Journal Bone Joint Surgery Inc},
  series       = {Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume},
  title        = {Simple guidelines for efficient referral of soft-tissue sarcomas: a population-based evaluation of adherence to guidelines and referral patterns.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.2106/JBJS.K.01271},
  volume       = {94},
  year         = {2012},
}