Treating Your Cancer : Browse by Cancer Type

Sarcoma

Soft tissue sarcomas are rare malignant tumors that most commonly involve the upper and lower extremities but can also be found in the head and neck area and trunk. They typically present as painless, enlarging masses and often are first noticed when there is trauma to the area that subsequently draws attention to the site.

Diagnosing soft tissue sarcomas can be difficult, and these lesions are often thought to be benign fatty tumors or cysts. However, an orthopedic oncologic surgeon can perform a fine needle biopsy of the mass to determine whether the lesion is cancerous. At Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, a multi-disciplinary team of physicians, including orthopedic oncologic surgeons, pathologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and radiologists, works together to plan an optimal and individualized course of treatment for each patient.

At Sylvester, many patients with large soft tissue sarcomas are first treated with chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor and improve the outlook for surgery. Often, additional chemotherapy is prescribed following surgery along with a course of postoperative radiation therapy to help control the cancer and prevent spreading to other parts of the body. Occasionally, a form of internal radiation called brachytherapy is utilized to deliver highly concentrated doses of radiation to the tumor while sparing surrounding healthy tissues. Our team of radiation oncology experts uses the latest imaging technologies, such as 4D CT scanning, 3T MRI imaging, and PET scan, to precisely target tumors.

One of the latest advances in the delivery of radiation therapy involves the use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) integrated with daily image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) techniques to more accurately deliver radiation to cancerous tissue, while minimizing damage to nearby healthy organs.

The Department of Radiation Oncology has radiation oncologists who specialize in the treatment of sarcomas and are nationally known for their use of a shorter duration (hypofractionated) of postoperative radiotherapy for patients with this rare cancer. Aaron Wolfson, M.D., leads Sylvester’s radiation oncology team for patients with sarcoma.