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Sarcoma Patient Brochure
The Sarcoma Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital is a multidisciplinary team of physicians specialized in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients with both soft tissue sarcomas and sarcomas of the bone.
The Program includes orthopedic physicians, dermatologists, diagnostic radiologists, medical oncologists, pediatric oncologists, radiation oncologists, and pathologists, all with specific expertise in the treatment and care of patients with sarcoma. A dedicated patient coordinator facilitates patient appointments and communication, coordinates services, and supports each patient and their family.
Clinical trials are also available to patients through Yale Cancer Center, bringing the latest treatment options for sarcomas to our clinics to benefit our patients.
Diagnostic tools at Smilow Cancer Hospital used to detect sarcomas include basic X-ray; CT scanning, excellent at seeing both bone and soft tissues; MRI, which has the ability to “view” the tissue in and around bone with exquisite detail; and PET scanning that is able to look at the cancer’s biological activity at the cellular level. In addition, a bone scan can be performed to check if there are cancer cells in the bone. A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into the patient’s vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive material collects in the bones with the cancerous cells and is then detected by a scanner.
Most patients receive a course of multi-drug chemotherapy and/or radiation frst, followed by limb-sparing surgery for sarcomas of the bone, which removes the tumor without amputation, and more chemotherapy. Your treatment plan will be tailored to your individual diagnosis in collaboration with your referring physician.
Surgery is often an option for patients with sarcomas of the bone. After consultation with the care team and patient, the following types of surgery may be considered:
Following successful surgery to remove the tumor, patients are also given chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells that are left in the area where the tumor was removed or that may have spread to other parts of the body. Treatment given after the surgery, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back, is called adjuvant therapy.