Bone And Soft Tissue Oncology

Bone cancer, sometimes known as bone sarcoma or musculoskeletal cancer, destroys healthy tissue, often in the long bones of the arms and legs. Soft tissue cancer, also known as soft tissue sarcoma or musculoskeletal cancer grows in the muscle, fat, joints, nerves, tendons, cartilage and blood vessels. Frequently, tumors spread to the bone (metastasize) after originating from somewhere else. Common tumors the spread to the bone are metastatic carcinoma, myeloma, plasmacytoma and lymphoma.

Sarcoma treatment depends on a variety of factors, including the type of sarcoma; the tumor’s location, grade and size; your age; and whether it is a new or returning cancer. Sarcoma is treated with a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Reconstruction of the surgical area typically takes place at the same time the tumor is removed.

Bone and soft tissue tumors are rare, and have a complicated mix of clinical behaviors. There are a variety of types and each one has its own particular treatment and patient outcome. The cause of most bone tumors is unknown. An injury can sometimes cause a tumor to start hurting; however, a bone tumor does not develop due to this injury. Injury can also cause a bone that is weakened by a tumor to fracture or break. Symptoms include pain, dull and aching discomfort and fever and night sweats.

The treatment of sarcoma generally requires a multi-disciplinary approach, involving experts in surgery, oncology (chemotherapy) and radiation, as well as orthopedic oncology, surgical oncology, neurosurgery and reconstructive or plastic surgery.

Treatment of bone sarcomas may require up to three months of chemotherapy prior to surgery with yet another course afterward, once the patient has been through the recovery process. Therapy for this type of cancer can take up to a year, assuming there are no complications and there is no need for additional procedures.

The primary treatment for soft tissue sarcomas is surgery. Chemotherapy can be used before surgery to shrink the size of the tumor, which increases the chance of removing the whole cancer. Chemotherapy is also used to treat a sarcoma when it has spread to other organs or other parts of the body. The decision to give radiation before or after surgery—or both—is made on an individual basis.

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