I have built relationships with patients, nurses, doctors and supportive care team members. Those relationships are what carried me through treatment and gave me the strength to continue to fight." Hannah Komai, bone cancer survivor
If you’ve been diagnosed with a sarcoma or musculoskeletal cancer, talk to us about treatment options. This group of cancers is quite rare and each one is unique, requiring expert detection, treatment and rehabilitation for successful treatment
At City of Hope, our dedicated team of health professionals take a patient-centered approach to diagnosing and treating sarcomas, which include tumors and cancers of the bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, nerves, blood and lymph vessels, deep skin tissure, joint tissue.
If you have been diagnosed with a sarcoma, are at a high risk for developing this disease or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, you may request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-4673 (HOPE). Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.
City of Hope is a nationally recognized leader in the research and treatment of sarcomas. We are one of the few facilities designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute, and for over a decade, U.S. News & World Report has named City of Hope one of the top cancer hospitals in America.
Our physicians have been consistently named "America's Top Doctors" by Castle Connolly and are active participants in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, which sets evidence-based best practices for detecting, evaluating and treating sarcomas nationwide.
Our multidisciplinary staff pursues an integrated approach to treating sarcomas by combining the latest research findings with outstanding patient care. This includes using advanced technologies and specialized techniques such as:
Additionally, City of Hope patients have access to our extensive team of supportive care experts, who will help you and your caregivers achieve and maintain a better quality of life during and after your cancer treatment.
Sarcomas are uncommon cancers that develop in your body’s connective tissues, including bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, nerves, blood vessels and lymph vessels.
Sarcomas are typically divided into two main types, bone cancer (osteosarcoma) and soft tissue sarcoma, the latter of which has over 50 classifications, depending on tissue type affected, such as:
Factors that can elevate sarcoma risk include:
Sarcoma symptoms vary depending on the area and tissue type affected, and may include:
Although these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, you should check with your doctor to get a definitive diagnosis.
Sources: National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society
Precise sarcoma tests are crucial for treatment planning, and City of Hope is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and specialized staff to ensure an accurate, comprehensive diagnosis of these cancers.
Highlights of our screening and diagnosis services include:
Your doctor may use the following tests to look for sarcomas:
Based on the results of these tests, the cancer is then staged according to its size, number of lymph nodes affected and whether it has spread to nearby or distant organs. Generally, cancer caught in earlier stages will have better outcomes than those caught in advanced or metastasized stages.
There are currently no screening guidelines for sarcomas, since no screenings have been shown to lower risk of dying for people of average risk. However, your physician may recommend more vigorous monitoring if you are at a high risk of developing this disease, which includes:
It's not just the patient. They've got siblings. They've got parents, aunts, uncles, all there to make sure the child gets the best care. It's one of our greatest challenges and the greatest reward." Judith K. Sato, M.D., director, Musculoskeletal Tumor Program
Sarcomas, due to their unique nature in types and locations affected, require a personalized treatment plan for the best clinical and quality-of-life outcomes. At City of Hope, our multidisciplinary team of medical experts across different fields — including surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, pathology, rehabilitation and supportive care medicine — will review your individual case together to determine the best course of therapy.
Our physicians are active members in many collaborations and cooperative groups, such as WEST (Western Sarcoma Team) and Children’s Oncology Group. Our team also participate in numerous clinical trials for detecting, treating and preventing sarcomas. This dedication to research means our patients have access to the most promising and leading-edge cancer therapies available.
Learn more about our sarcoma treatment options below:
Many of my patients are teenagers ... and it's very satisfying to see them grow, graduate high school, go off to college and have families of their own." Dominic Femino, M.D., chief, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery
For early stage or locally advanced sarcomas, surgical removal of cancerous tissue is the primary treatment. The type of surgery varies depending on the type, size and location of the cancer.
City of Hope offers the latest advances in sarcoma surgery, meaning you can achieve outcomes not possible elsewhere. This includes our surgeons’ innovative approaches to cancer removal, devotion to preserve normal tissues and specialized prosthetic options to maintain or restore your quality of life.
When possible, minimally invasive surgeries — which uses smaller incisions compared to a traditional open procedure — will be performed. This can significantly reduce discomfort, blood loss, hospital stay and recovery time while maintaining optimal outcomes.
Highlights of our sarcoma surgery program include:
Following cancer surgery, we also provide a broad range of rehabilitation services to help restore mobility and activity using a combination of physical, occupational and recreational therapy.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation to kill cancer cells. It is may be delivered externally using beams of energy focused on the tumor site, or internally by placing radioactive substances in or near the tumor site.
Radiation can treat tumors that cannot be removed by surgery (sometimes shrinking them enough to be operable) and can be used to relieve pain and other cancer symptoms. It may also be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells at the tumor site to reduce likelihood of recurrence.
City of Hope is a leader in image-driven radiation planning, using advanced imaging technologies — such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography scans — to determine tumor size and location, and “sculpt” radiation delivery to the cancerous areas. This ensures radiation is accurately delivered to the tumor site, while minimizing exposure to nearby normal tissues.
Drug therapy may be given to patients to fight sarcoma cells throughout the body by killing the cancer cells or stopping their growth and spread. These drugs include:
The drug or drug combination used depends on the type and stage of sarcomas, previous treatments used, the patient’s health and overall treatment goals. This personalized medicine approach may be further enhanced by molecular or genetic testing of your cancer, which can help identify treatments that are more effective and/or less toxic.
In addition to traditional drug regimens, sarcoma patients at City of Hope may be eligible for isolated limb infusion therapy, which delivers cancer-fighting drugs directly to the affected arm or leg. This is done by applying a tourniquet to the affected limb and connecting its primary artery and vein to the drug-delivery mechanism. This allows for higher drug concentrations to be prescribed while reducing the likelihood and severity of systemic side effects, such as nausea and fatigue.
City of Hope patients may also be eligible for new, promising drugs through our clinical trials program.
Care is provided by a multidisciplinary team of surgical oncologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists who work together with pathologists, radiologists, rehabilitation experts and others to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients.
At City of Hope, sarcoma clinicians and researchers collaborate extensively to develop and evaluate new therapies for better survival and quality-of-life outcomes. Our patients have access to a wide variety of clinical trials including new chemotherapy and targeted therapies, novel surgical techniques, innovative radiation approaches and new prevention strategies.
These trials give current patients access to promising, leading-edge therapies and improve overall care for future patients worldwide. Visit our clinical trials page to learn more about current studies and their eligibility criteria.
Our current sarcoma research projects include:
It’s definitely going to be a tough road no matter what. But attitude is everything. Try to keep the best focus on the outcome in the end. Keep a positive attitude." Trevor Hoffman, muscle cancer survivor
When you come to City of Hope, you automatically gain access to an unparalleled array of support services to help you and your loved ones take each step during and after your sarcoma treatment.
We can help with all of the following concerns, and more:
For more information about the supportive care programs we offer, please contact the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center at 626-218-2273 (CARE).