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Sarcoma recurrence is a common concern of patients who have been diagnosed and treated for the condition. The term "recurrence" refers to a cancer that returns after treatment is completed and the patient experiences a period of remission (during which no signs of cancer are detected). Sarcoma can come back within the tissues that were originally affected or can affect tissues elsewhere in the body.
Because cancer is named for its original type or location, a sarcoma that migrates to another part of the body is still considered to be a sarcoma. If there is a recurrence, it is most likely to happen within two to three years of treatment. Sometimes, however, cancer may not reappear for years, making it paramount for a patient to remain diligent about follow-up tests and examinations, even after a period of remission.
Some follow-up tests that are commonly recommended for sarcoma patients include:
- Physical examinations – A physician may check for general changes in health, abnormalities and other signs that the sarcoma has returned.
- Imaging tests – X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, mammograms and bones scans are tools that physicians can use to get a better picture of what’s going on in a patient’s body.
- Blood tests – Physicians use both routine blood tests and specialized tests that check for certain substances in the blood known as "tumor markers" to see if there are signs of a sarcoma recurrence.
Moffitt Cancer Center is a Comprehensive Cancer Center, as designated by the National Cancer Institute. We’re the only cancer center based in Florida to have received this distinction. Through our dedicated research efforts, we are continually discovering groundbreaking new sarcoma treatment protocols that help to improve patient survival rates and enhance quality of life. Our patients also have access to comprehensive supportive care. Patients can work with our social workers and attend support group meetings to talk with other patients who are also coping with sarcoma and the possibility of recurrence. Moffitt even offers support through our Integrative Medicine Program such as yoga, tai chi and acupuncture to help alleviate stress.