Surgery is a common type of sarcoma treatment that is intended to remove all traces of cancer from the body. For small sarcomas, surgery may be the only therapy necessary. For larger sarcomas, surgery may be accompanied by chemotherapy or radiation therapy to ensure that all of the cancer cells are destroyed.
Types of surgeries
There are several types of surgery to treat sarcoma, and a patient’s options depend on the location of the cancer and how large it has grown. For instance:
- A wide local incision can be used to remove the entire tumor along with some of the healthy tissue around it, although minimal healthy tissue removal is the goal for sarcomas on the head, neck, abdomen and trunk.
- A limb-sparing surgery can be used to remove a sarcoma on the arms or legs without removing the entire body part. Although most surgeries do not involve the removal of the patient’s limbs, an amputation may occasionally be necessary for an extensive, late-stage tumor.
- A lymphadenectomy can be used to remove local lymph nodes if the surgeon believes the cancer may have started to spread through the lymphatic system.
Impending pathological fracture procedure
The impending pathological fracture procedure may be recommended for some patients with sarcoma. During this procedure, the bones are reinforced before any treatment begins to help strengthen them. A physician may suggest this for bones that are more likely to fracture during treatment or due to metastases. A tumor-bearing bone that fractures will rarely heal on its own, which is why an impending pathological fracture is necessary to help prevent that from happening. The ultimate goals of this procedure are to maximize the function and skeletal integrity of the bones as well as minimize morbidity.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s approach to sarcoma surgery
To determine which type of sarcoma surgery would be most beneficial for a patient, our surgical team will assess a number of factors. At Moffitt Cancer Center, our Sarcoma Program features a multispecialty team of oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, surgeons and supportive care specialists who work together to coordinate care for our patients. This allows us to tailor each patient’s treatment plan to his or her unique needs. Because Moffitt is a high-volume cancer center, our team has extensive experience performing many types of sarcoma surgery. Additionally, as Moffitt has been recognized as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, our patients have access to innovative treatments such as immunotherapy and clinical trials. We’re on the forefront of sarcoma research and remain committed to better understanding this disease and how to treat it effectively.