Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Comprehensive Margin Evaluation Definition

Comprehensive Margin Evaluation: An examination performed by a pathologist to see if there are cancer cells along the margins of biopsied tissue. If there are cells on the edge of the tissue sample, there are likely some left in the dog, and another surgery or other treatment may be in order. If cells are present, the results are called dirty margins or sometimes “incomplete margins”; if the pathologist doesn’t find any microscopic tumor cells, the results are called clean margins or “complete margins.” Despite the use of the word “comprehensive,” a pathologist only looks at a couple of areas along the margins, not the entire margin. This is why wide margins are so important to prevent malignant tumor regrowth.

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