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Diagnosis & Treatment for Sarcoma

The experts at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center offer advanced care to patients diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma. Our team consists of nationally recognized orthopedic oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, pediatrics, and medical oncologists, who aim to deliver advanced, personalized care to each patient to treat the disease successfully.

Diagnosing Sarcoma

The diagnosis of sarcoma can be challenging and requires a skilled interventional radiologist and an experienced sarcoma pathologist. A number of modalities are needed not only to diagnose sarcoma but also to identify the correct subtype.

A sarcoma diagnosis usually involves:

  • A medical history and a physical exam performed by a sarcoma specialist
  • Imaging studies, such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or PET scans: Our state-of-the-art imaging equipment provides clear and precise imaging that guides our experts to identify the exact location and extent of cancer.
  • A biopsy involves a minor procedure where a needle is inserted into the tumor body to obtain a tissue sample, which is then examined in the lab. Our team of musculoskeletal radiologists performs an imaging-guided biopsy, which is examined by our experienced sarcoma-pathologists. In addition to this, we also have the capability to test for a number of mutations through our own platform for Next-Generation Sequencing. The presence of these mutations can widen the potential options for treatment.

At University Hospitals, we have dedicated team musculoskeletal radiologists and interventional radiologists who have the necessary expertise in obtaining tissue samples, which are then examined by our experienced sarcoma pathologists.

Treatments for Sarcoma

The treatment for patients diagnosed with sarcoma can be challenging and requires a multidisciplinary approach. The treatment is divided into local treatment and systemic treatment. Local treatment usually entails performing a surgical resection with or without radiation therapy. Systemic treatment involved administering medications to control cancer.

The multidisciplinary sarcoma team at UH Seidman Cancer Center is made up of surgeons, radiologists, oncologists, nurses, and support staff who work together to coordinate your care. Each patient receives a treatment plan developed by a panel of physicians from a variety of specialties. These physicians comprise the Sarcoma Tumor Board. The team includes:

  • Orthopedic oncologists: Orthopedics trained surgeons specializing in bone cancer and the soft tissues of the extremities
  • Surgical oncologists: Surgeons specializing in cancer surgery
  • Thoracic surgeons: Surgeons specializing in the chest and lung surgery
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgeons: Surgeons specializing in soft tissue restoration
  • Radiation oncologists: Doctors experienced in using radiation
  • Medical oncologists: Doctors specializing in cancer treatment using chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy
  • Pathologists: Doctors who specialize in examining biopsy specimens
  • Pediatric oncologists: Pediatricians who specialize in taking care of children with cancer
  • Musculoskeletal radiologists: Radiologists who specialize in reading imaging scans of patients with skeletal issues.

Follow-Up Care

Care for people diagnosed with sarcoma continues long after active treatment has ended. Your healthcare team will continue to check that cancer has not come back, manage any side effects, and monitor your overall health. Your follow-up care will include regular physical examinations and tests, including but not limited to CT scans, MRI and blood tests. Doctors want to keep track of your recovery in the months and years ahead. For patients treated for a sarcoma occurring in an extremity, we offer a rehabilitation program after completion of treatment that can help the patient regain or maintain limb function, range of motion and strength. On the pediatrics side, we have a robust survivorship program at University Hospitals, Rainbow Babies & Children’s that includes a long term follow up of pediatric cancer survivors.