Uncommon expertise in treating an uncommon cancer
Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers is widely recognized as a leader in treating adults diagnosed with the rare cancers known as sarcomas. Our multidisciplinary approach brings together a care team made up of the region’s most experienced and knowledgeable oncologists, who work together with patients to provide customized treatment plans delivered with a personal touch.
Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers’ dedicated sarcoma team has the expertise to correctly diagnose your tumor type and determine the progression of the disease. We provide patients access to the latest and most effective research and treatment, such as intra-arterial chemotherapy, a protocol developed by oncologists at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers.
Types of Sarcomas
While there are numerous types of malignant sarcomas, the disease is typically divided into two categories:
Soft-Tissue Sarcomas are cancers that develop in tissues such as fat, muscles, nerves, and fibrous tissue. There are more than 50 distinct types of malignant soft-tissue sarcomas, which are rare; just over 12,000 will be diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Soft-tissue sarcomas can develop in all parts of the body. However they are most common in the arms and legs. Soft-tissue sarcomas also are found in the abdomen, head, and neck. In addition, there are dozens of soft-tissue sarcomas that are not malignant.
Osteosarcomas are the most common types of malignancies that develop in bone; however they, too, are rare. About 800 osteosarcoma cases will be diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the American Cancer Society. About half of osteosarcomas occur in teenagers; children and young adults are also among the most commonly affected groups. But osteosarcomas can occur at any age. In children and young adults, osteosarcomas often form in areas where bone is growing, including the bones around the knee, and the thigh bone. Osteosarcomas are further divided into three grades, based on how quickly the tumors spread:
- High-grade osteosarcomas are the fastest growing
- Intermediate-grade osteosarcomas are neither fast-growing nor slow-growing
- Low-grade osteosarcomas are the slowest growing
Within each category are many individual types of osteosarcomas.
Diagnosis and Treatment
With malignant sarcomas, accurately diagnosing the extent to which it has spread, likely aggressiveness, and grade of the tumor is essential in determining each patient’s optimum treatment. To achieve a precise diagnosis, an orthopedic surgeon or interventional radiologist performs a biopsy.
At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, our dedicated sarcoma team has the expertise to correctly diagnose your disease and determine its grade. We combine that expertise with devotion to each patient’s care; each week our sarcoma team meets to review patients’ progress and treatment plans.
The Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers sarcoma team includes oncologists specializing in:
In addition, we work closely with vascular surgeons and plastic surgeons.
Tumor size determines treatment
Once a tumor is precisely diagnosed, your oncologist will work with you to determine your treatment plan. Smaller tumors may be removed through surgery, followed by a course of radiation to eliminate any cancer that has spread.
With larger tumors, your oncologist may recommend chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor before surgically removing it, a technique that increases likelihood that a tumor can be successfully removed. In addition, monitoring the tumor’s response to chemotherapy provides oncologists with valuable information about the tumor’s responsiveness to these therapies.
When surgery is appropriate, Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers oncologists work closely with the surgical oncologists at Colorado Limb Consultants.
Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers’ expert ability to diagnose your tumor’s characteristics means that we can determine which, if any, targeted therapies will work on your particular cancer.
Because larger sarcomas can shed cancer cells throughout the bloodstream, there is a high rate of recurrence with this disease. To reduce chances of recurrence, our oncologists use a protocol they pioneered called intra-arterial chemotherapies. This technique delivers chemotherapy directly through an artery that feeds the tumor.