Bone and Soft Tissue Cancer Diagnosis
At Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, we get you a quick, precise diagnosis. As soon as we confirm the diagnosis and the stage of the cancer, the highly experienced members of our sarcoma conference will discuss personalized treatment recommendations for you.
Expert bone and soft tissue cancer diagnosis at Allegheny Health Network
At the Cancer Institute, our skilled, compassionate team provides a quick and accurate diagnosis. You can expect the diagnosis process to be:
- Minimally invasive: The majority of our advanced diagnostic tests use technology that does not require an incision, so the experience will be as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
- Expert: Bone and soft tissue cancers account for only 1 percent of all cancer diagnoses each year. Our experienced physicians specialize in sarcoma and accurately identify and treat this rare type of cancer. You get a detailed, thorough diagnosis, followed by a comprehensive strategy for treatment. We also offer robust support services to treat the whole person.
- Convenient: We work with you to minimize time and maximize efficiency of testing as much as possible.
Diagnostic procedures for bone and soft tissue cancer
In order to diagnose the cancer, we conduct a physical exam and discuss your symptoms. Our advanced tests include:
- X-ray: This test is usually the first one ordered if a physician suspects bone or soft tissue cancer. If the X-ray shows a lump or tumor, we will follow up with more diagnostic tests.
- Computed tomography (CT) scans: The technician takes multiple X-rays of your body. A computer combines them to form one 3-D picture that shows any abnormalities or tumors.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans: A powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer combine to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: We inject a small, safe amount of a radioactive sugar substance into your arm before the test. The substance collects in cancerous areas, so we can clearly see where the cancer is located.
- Bone scans: This test can find bone changes much earlier than regular X-rays can detect them. Similar to a PET scan, the technician gives you a safe amount of a radioactive solution. The solution collects in the bone and the high-concentrated areas will be visible on the scan.
- Ultrasound: We send high-frequency sound waves through the body to create images. We may use ultrasound to guide other screenings so we can get results that are as precise as possible.
Bone and soft tissue cancer biopsy
After viewing a lump or tumor on a diagnostic test, it’s important to collect cells so a pathologist can analyze them. A biopsy is the only way to confirm that the growth is a sarcoma and not another type of cancer or a noncancerous condition. We give you varied types of anesthesia during these procedures so you will be comfortable:
- Needle biopsy: This type of biopsy uses a long needle to collect the suspicious cells. This outpatient procedure is minimally invasive.
- Open biopsy: A surgeon performs this biopsy in an operating room, removing the entire tumor or a portion of it for testing.
Bone and soft tissue cancer treatment
Once you have an accurate diagnosis, you meet with your entire care team to discuss treatment options. Treatment often involves surgery to remove the tumor. In some cases, we may also use radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Find out more about our approach to bone and soft tissue cancer treatment.