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Treatment for Sarcoma

At Fox Chase Cancer Center, our multidisciplinary medical team works closely to accurately diagnose your sarcoma and help you understand your options so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment.

As a regional and national leader in cancer care, Fox Chase has a wealth of experience treating all types of sarcoma.

Our skilled sarcoma team meets regularly to review patient cases and map out a personalized treatment plan. We strive to treat your cancer in the least invasive way possible using innovative surgical techniques and combination therapies that give you the best chance of a successful outcome.

Our doctors are also actively involved in developing new therapies for treating sarcoma. Through clinical trials, we are able to offer our patients access to promising treatments and experimental therapies that may not be available elsewhere. Ask your Fox Chase doctor if a clinical trial is right for you.

Your Treatment Options

Treatment for sarcoma depends on the stage, type and grade of your cancer; whether it has spread to other tissue; and your age, health history, and personal goals. Your personalized treatment plan will be created after consultations with physicians within our multidisciplinary team and may include a combination of one or more of the following treatment options:

  • Surgery

Fox Chase surgeons are highly specialized in the surgical treatment of sarcomas and use a variety of approaches to remove sarcoma tumors while preserving function. The goal of surgery is to completely remove the tumor and a surrounding margin of normal tissue. Fox Chase surgeons can achieve this goal and successfully preserve limbs using advanced bone reconstruction and limb-sparing techniques. In the vast majority of cases, amputation can be avoided, even for patients with large and complex extremity tumors.

In patients with sarcoma and other cancers that have spread to the extremities, surgery is also used for symptom management and pain control. Specialized surgery is available for patients with any type of cancer that has spread to the bone (metastatic cancer). In many cases, metastatic cancer can lead to the risk of a bone fracture, but surgical stabilization can speed recovery, decrease pain, help you return to systemic therapy, and allow you to continue walking. Even in cases where the bone has already broken, surgical techniques can be used to give patients the ability to walk and continue to function.

  • Radiation

The radiation oncologists at Fox Chase specialize in treating sarcoma using the latest radiation therapies. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells and may be given in combination with chemotherapy if you are unable to tolerate surgery, or in combination with chemotherapy and surgery for patients with invasive sarcoma.

Radiation is usually given either before or following surgery to deliver the radiation directly to the tumor, which decreases the dose to surrounding tissues. We use radiation therapy to help preserve the affected limb, shrink the tumor, and decrease the risk of the tumor coming back after surgery. Radiation can be given using external beam technologies (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) or by placing radioactive seeds into the tumor during surgery (brachytherapy).

  • Systemic Therapy
    The medical oncologists at Fox Chase are regional and national leaders in the treatment of sarcoma. As part of the multidisciplinary team, your medical oncologist will help to determine your personalized treatment plan, which may include systemic therapies, such as targeted therapy, immunotherapy or chemotherapy, either as standard of care or as part of a clinical trial. Systemic therapy may be given before or after surgery and may also be recommended to patients who are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic cancer).

Some sarcomas have specific genetic changes that can be targeted by drug therapies. Our team may recommend tumors be tested to identify possible treatment options or to get information on the likelihood of benefit from a standard treatment.

  • Isolated Limb Infusion
    Very large extremity sarcomas are one of the most difficult-to-treat cancers. Isolated Limb Infusion (ILI) temporarily isolates the blood supply to an extremity to allow chemotherapy to concentrate where it is needed. It is a minimally-invasive procedure for delivering high doses of chemotherapy to treat recurrent in-transit sarcoma in a limb and is available at only a few centers nationwide. The Fox Chase team has the specialized skills needed to perform ILI.
  • Clinical Trials
    Fox Chase actively participates in a number of clinical trials for patients with primary and metastatic sarcoma. In addition to receiving excellent care, our patients also benefit from the groundbreaking research that we do to expand our understanding of new sarcoma therapies and treatments. We encourage eligible patients to participate in clinical trials that are available and appropriate for their stage and type of sarcoma.
Isolated Limb Infusion (ILI)

Isolated Limb Infusion (ILI) is a regional technique which involves temporarily isolating the blood supply to an extremity to concentrate chemotherapy treatment there. 

It’s a minimally invasive procedure for delivering high doses of chemotherapy to treat recurrent in-transit disease in a limb, including melanoma and sarcoma.

With ILI, the effects of chemotherapy can be concentrated regionally in one area, easing the strain and toxicity on the full body that can accompany standard chemotherapy. It also allows a much higher concentration of the dose than a standard intravenous chemotherapy would permit... Expand

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