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Treatments for soft tissue sarcomas and bone tumors include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Bone tumors are also sometimes treated with cryosurgery.

Soft Tissue Sarcomas

  • Surgery is usually the first line of treatment for soft tissue sarcomas.

    For surgery to be effective, the surgeon must remove the entire tumor with negative margins (no cancer cells are found at the edge or border of the tissue removed during surgery). The surgeon may use special surgical techniques to minimize the amount of healthy tissue removed with the tumor.

    Depending on the size and location of the sarcoma, some patients may also need reconstructive surgery.
     
  • Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, refers to carefully aimed doses of radiation, or high energy x-rays, intended to kill cancer cells. If you need radiation therapy, you will be asked to see a specialist called a radiation oncologist. Like surgery, radiation therapy only kills cancer cells directly in the path of the radiation beam. It also damages the normal cells caught in its path, and for this reason, it cannot be used to treat large areas of the body.

    Radiation therapy may also be administered by radioactive materials placed directly into or near the area where the cancer cells are found (known as internal radiation therapy or radiation implant).
     
  • Chemotherapy refers to the use of drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy is administered by a medical oncologist.

    Most chemotherapy used for sarcomas is given by mouth or vein (intravenously), and often during or after radiation therapy. The drugs enter the bloodstream and then travel throughout the body. These drugs can be administered as an outpatient in a hospital, at your doctor's office or at home. Rarely is a hospital stay required. 
     
    The effectiveness of current anticancer drugs depends on the type of sarcoma. Some sarcomas are very responsive to chemotherapy, while others do not respond to current anticancer drugs

Bone Tumors

  • Surgery is the most common treatment for bone cancer. The surgeon removes the entire tumor with negative margins (no cancer cells are found at the edge or border of the tissue removed during surgery). The surgeon may also use special surgical techniques to minimize the amount of healthy tissue removed with the tumor.

    Dramatic improvements in surgical techniques and preoperative tumor treatment have made it possible for most patients with bone cancer in an arm or leg to avoid radical surgical procedures (removal of the entire limb). However, most patients who undergo limb-sparing surgery need reconstructive surgery to maximize limb function.
     
  • Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, refers to carefully aimed doses of radiation, or high energy x-rays, intended to kill cancer cells. If you need radiation therapy, you will be asked to see a specialist called a radiation oncologist.

    This treatment may be used in combination with surgery. It is often used to treat chondrosarcoma, which cannot be treated with chemotherapy. It may also be used for patients who refuse surgery.
     
  • Chemotherapy refers to the use of drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy is given by a medical oncologist.

    Patients who have bone cancer usually receive a combination of anticancer drugs. However, chemotherapy is not currently used to treat chondrosarcoma (a cancer of the cartilege).
  • Cryosurgery is the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill cancer cells. This technique can sometimes be used instead of conventional surgery to destroy the malignant tumor.
Last updated: 5/26/2010 2:40:00 PM