Treatment for bone and soft tissue sarcoma is based on the stage of the cancer. Staging typically occurs during diagnosis and measures how far cancer cells may have spread. Staging is different for bone cancer and soft tissue cancer.
At Wilmot Cancer Institute, you will find the region’s most advanced treatments for bone and soft tissue sarcoma. Some patients’ cases are discussed in a multidisciplinary tumor board — a conference attended by many doctors with different specialties that might be required for your care.
Options for the treatment of bone and soft tissue cancers can include combinations of:
For both bone and soft tissue cancers, surgery is the most common treatment. Procedures can include:
- Wide excision, which removes the tumor and some of the healthy surrounding tissue.
- Limb-sparing surgery, which removes the tumor from an arm or leg without requiring amputation. In this complex procedure, bone grafts or internal prostheses can be used to replace bone that has been removed. At Wilmot, a team of plastic surgeons, vascular surgeons and orthopaedic surgeons works together to ensure the best functionality and appearance after surgery. As a result of this expertise, over 90 percent of our patients are able to have limb-sparing surgeries.
- Amputation, which is used only when limb-sparing surgery is not possible.
- Reconstructive surgery.
Radiation therapy may be used to kill cancer cells that remain after surgery for bone and soft tissue cancers. It may also be used as a treatment for patients who are not candidates for surgery. Radiation treatments can help to reduce symptoms, such as pain, that are caused by bone and soft tissue cancers.
Advanced techniques available for treating bone and soft tissue cancers at Wilmot Cancer Institute include:
- 3D conformal radiation therapy
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
- Brachytherapy, which is a form of internal radiation therapy delivered through implanted seeds.
Chemotherapy is often used to help shrink a tumor prior to surgery. It may also be used when cancer has spread from a patient’s bones or soft tissue to other parts of the body.
These therapies are designed to attack specific cancer cells either by interfering with the mechanisms that cause them to grow and spread or by engaging the immune system to kill the cancer cells. Research is underway to identify targeted therapies that may be effective for bone and soft tissue cancers.
Many cancer treatments cause side effects such as hair loss or fatigue. Some people have side effects and others don’t.
Wilmot has one of the oldest and most highly regarded research programs in the country to investigate the management of side effects. Learn more about our Cancer Control and Survivorship research.
The American Cancer Society also offers a free online class to help patients manage the side effects of their illness.