Background: Subcutaneous malignant tumors are often treated by non-specialized clinicians in musculoskeletal oncology. While the resection of subcutaneous tumors appears technically feasible, unplanned resection of malignant tumors can result in a devastating clinical outcome. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential estrangement in the awareness of and the treatment strategy for the patients with subcutaneous soft tissue tumors between musculoskeletal oncologists and non-specialized clinicians. Methods: A questionnaire probing the clinical assessment of subcutaneous tumors was sent to orthopedic surgeons, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and general surgeons. Results of the questionnaire were statistically analyzed. Results: One hundred sixteen clinicians out of 150 responded to the questionnaire; the response rate was 77.3%. Among those, 46 clinicians had treated subcutaneous tumors. Thirty-nine of these 46 clinicians (27 musculoskeletal oncologists and 12 non-specialized clinicians) preoperatively performed enhanced MRI for diagnostic evaluation. Preoperative incisional biopsy to confirm the pathological diagnosis was performed by 36 of the 46 clinicians (29 musculoskeletal oncologists and seven non-specialized clinicians). These results indicate that musculoskeletal oncologists perform preoperative enhanced MRI (P = 0.08) and biopsy (P < 0.01) more frequently than nonspecialized clinicians. The recognition rate of 'myxofibrosarcoma' was 60.8% among clinicians with an experience with sarcoma treatment (25 musculoskeletal oncologists and three nonspecialized clinicians). The recognition rate of 'myxofibrosarcoma' between musculoskeletal oncologists and non-specialized clinicians was statistically significant (P < 0.01). Conclusions: Preoperative evaluations for subcutaneous tumors are more often inappropriate in non-specialized clinicians than those who are. Therefore, it will be mandatory to raise the awareness of this condition to improve the clinical outcome of patients with subcutaneous tumors.
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