Bone and Soft Tissue Cancer Treatment
At Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, our highly experienced staff works together to determine the most effective treatment plan for you.
Although bone and soft tissue cancer (sarcoma) is rare, we have treated countless cases. Our specialists have dedicated their careers to fighting this specific type of cancer using surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and clinical trials. We have the expertise and experience to get the precise diagnosis and customized treatment plan you need. We also offer robust support services to treat the whole person.
Expert bone and soft tissue cancer treatment at Allegheny Health Network
We use the latest science, techniques, and technology to provide a comprehensive treatment plan. At the Cancer Institute, you benefit from treatment that is:
- Collaborative: Many surgeons in various specialty areas work together to treat the cancer and share their expertise during your procedure.
- Expert: We have our own biweekly sarcoma conference where all of the bone and soft tissue cancer specialists meet to strategize on the most complicated cases. You benefit from the experience of all of our sarcoma experts.
- Extensive: We also have a multi-institutional bone and soft tissue video conference with other renowned hospitals, including West Virginia University Hospital, Marshall University Medical Center, and Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Kentucky. All of these specialists contribute their experience and knowledge to your care.
- Advanced: We have our own clinical trial program as well as a partnership with the renowned Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. You have access to a wide variety of breakthrough clinical trials from both institutions. Learn more about our clinical trials program.
Treatment options for bone and soft tissue cancer
Surgery to remove the tumor is often a crucial part of sarcoma treatment. In some cases, surgery alone may be enough. Other times, radiation or chemotherapy may be used before or after surgery to shrink or destroy the cancer cells.
Bone and soft tissue cancer surgery
Each type of bone and soft tissue cancer is different (there are more than 500 types), so the type of surgery you may need will vary depending on your particular situation. Our team will determine the best option for you and discuss it with you in detail.
Depending on the type of cancer and where it is located, different surgeons will be a part of determining the strategy and performing the surgery. These experts may include:
- Surgical oncologists that are specifically trained in treating sarcoma
- Orthopedic surgeons (surgeons who specialize in diseases of the bones, muscles, and joints) for bone and soft tissue cancer of the arms, legs, trunk, spine, and pelvis
- Thoracic surgeons (a doctor who performs surgery on the lungs and chest) for sarcomas in the chest
- Plastic surgeons for any reconstruction that may be needed after the tumor is removed
Bone and soft tissue cancer surgery often has three parts:
- Wide excision: The surgeon removes the tumor as well as a rim of normal tissue around it. The goal of this surgery is to remove all cancer cells.
- Functional reconstruction: The surgeon repairs the area that was disrupted by the tumor. For example, if we remove a piece of bone in your arm or leg, we may insert a metal rod in its place.
- Plastic surgery: One or more plastic surgeons may be involved in your surgery. After the tumor is removed, they reconstruct the area for functional or cosmetic reasons.
Radiation therapy for bone and soft tissue cancer
You may need radiation therapy (high-dose radiation beams directed at the tumor) before or after surgery. You may be concerned about the effects of radiation exposure. We prioritize your safety. We use advanced computer software and imaging to target the radiation beams directly at the tumor, minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.
We are the only radiation oncology network accredited in western Pennsylvania by both the American Society for Radiation Oncology and American College of Radiology. These accreditations mean that the Cancer Institute meets specific guidelines for patient safety, quality control, and efficiency of equipment. You receive the highest quality care available in the state.
Medical oncology for bone and soft tissue cancer
Our expert oncologists treat patients using a variety of medications. You may receive these treatments before or after surgery or on their own. Our advanced medical oncology therapies include:
- Chemotherapy: These are powerful drugs that can kill cancer cells. The medications may cause side effects. Our team works with you to minimize the side effects as much as possible.
- Targeted therapy: This therapy causes fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy. It works by attacking specific genes within the surrounding blood vessels to stop cancer from growing and spreading.
- Immunotherapy: This form of biological therapy helps your own immune system to better fight the cancer.
Rehabilitation after bone and soft tissue cancer treatment
Every patient’s rehabilitation will be different, because each particular case is unique. Our experienced team works with you every step of the way to help you make a full recovery. Numerous professionals work together to help you understand and feel comfortable with any changes to your body, physically and psychologically. The team assisting your complete rehabilitation includes:
- Pain management specialists
- Infection control specialists
- Physical therapists