This questionnaire based study compared the interpretation, use and preferences, among pathologists and surgeons, of descriptive phrases found in surgical reports. The results show that there is a wide variation in individual interpretation of phrases in both groups. The frequency of usage of phrases by pathologists and preference for phrases by surgeons were also diverse. The adoption of a limited number of descriptive phrases that are mutually understood and acceptable for use by both pathologists and clinicians is recommended to avoid interpretive ambiguity in pathology reports.
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