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Malignant fibrous histiocytoma is a soft tissue sarcoma that usually occurs in the limbs, most commonly the legs, and may also occur in the abdomen. Learn about malignant fibrous histiocytoma and find information on how we support and care for children and teens with sarcoma before, during, and after treatment.
The Solid Tumor Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center treats children and teens with a variety of solid malignancies, including bone and soft tissue tumors, liver and kidney tumors, neuroblastomas, retinoblastomas and rare tumors. Our doctors provide unparalleled expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and management of these diseases.
Your child's care team will include pediatric oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, and nurses with expertise in treating your child's specific type of cancer.
Our physicians are focused on family-centered care: From your first visit, you'll work with a team of professionals who are committed to supporting your family's needs. We consider you and your child integral parts of the care team. Our specialists will collaborate with you to customize a treatment plan that takes the needs of your child and your family into account.
As well as providing access to a range of innovative clinical trials through Dana-Farber/Boston Children's, we are New England's Phase I referral center for the Children's Oncology Group, which means we're able to offer clinical trials unavailable at other regional centers.
Your child will have access to long-term treatment and childhood cancer survivor support through Dana-Farber's David B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic.
From diagnosis through treatment and survivorship, our team will be able to answer all of your questions about your child's care.
Find out more about our Solid Tumor Center, including the diseases we treat and our specialized programs for bone and soft tissue tumors, liver tumors, neuroblastoma, rare tumors, and retinoblastoma.
A malignant fibrous histiocytoma is a type of cancerous tumor that can start in either bone or, most often, in the soft tissues that connect, support or surround organs and other body parts. Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center provides comprehensive medical and surgical care for children and adolescents with benign or malignant bone and soft tissue tumors.
Our multidisciplinary approach to care ensures in-depth discussion of each case and personalized treatment plans for every patient. We integrate expertise from the following specialists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital:
We are conducting numerous research studies to help better understand and treat soft tissue and bone sarcomas.
A malignant fibrous histiocytoma is a type of cancerous tumor that can start in either bone or, most often, in the soft tissues that connect, support or surround organs and other body parts. It’s a painless mass that most often turns up in the extremities, although it can occur anywhere in the body. It most commonly spreads (metastasizes) to the lungs, but can also invade the lymph nodes and bone.
The exact cause of malignant fibrous histiocytoma is not entirely understood, however, studies have indicated that genetics may play a role. In addition:
While it’s among the most common types of soft tissue tumors found in adults, it is rarely found in children. It makes up only a tiny percentage of all soft tissue sarcomas, which as a group account for only 1 percent of new cancer cases in children each year.
Because soft tissue sarcomas affect tissue that is elastic and easily moved, a tumor may exist for a long time before being discovered, growing large and pushing aside surrounding tissue. Symptoms vary greatly with the size, location and spread of the tumor, but may include:
How does a doctor know that it’s malignant fibrous histiocytoma?Diagnostic procedures for malignant fibrous histiocytoma are used to determine the exact type of tumor your child has and whether the tumor has spread. These may include:
Treatments for malignant fibrous histiocytoma may involve a combination of therapies including surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. The most common procedures include:SurgeryDepending on the size and location of the tumor, your child may either need:
Radiation therapy Our doctors use precisely targeted and dosed radiation to kill cancer cells left behind after your child’s surgery. ChemotherapyChemotherapy is a drug that interferes with the cancer cell’s ability to grow or reproduce.
While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating certain cancers, the agents do not differentiate normal healthy cells from cancer cells. Because of this, there can be many adverse side effects during treatment. Being able to anticipate these side effects can help the care team, parents, and child prepare, and, in some cases, prevent these symptoms from occurring. Chemotherapy is systemic treatment, meaning it is introduced to the bloodstream and travels throughout the body to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given:
Supportive care This is any type of treatment to prevent and treat infections, side effects of treatments, and complications, and to keep your child comfortable during treatment.
Children treated for malignant fibrous histiocytoma should visit a survivorship clinic every year to:
A typical follow-up visit may include some or all of the following:
Through the David B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, childhood cancer survivors receive a comprehensive follow-up evaluation from their cancer care team.
Boston Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are also conducting numerous research studies to help better understand and treat soft tissue and bone sarcomas.
Types of treatment currently being studied include:
Many children with cancer receive treatment in the outpatient setting, which allows them to stay in school and continue to develop intellectually and socially. However, returning to school can be an emotional experience; our Back to School Program is designed to ease your child's transition back to the classroom.
Concierge Services is your one-stop place to learn about Dana-Farber programs, services and resources, as well as information on getting around Boston, finding lodging or restaurants, and activities in the area.
The Expressive Arts Therapy program, sponsored by the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, provides adult patients, family members, and caregivers with a variety of options to support well-being during cancer treatment. From live music meditation to painting technique workshops, the program offers a range of creative outlets to suit every interest.
Dana-Farber and Children's Hospital, including parking facilities, are fully accessible to people with disabilities. There are wheelchairs at the main entrance, and security staff can provide personal assistance. We also have many educational materials available in large print and audiotape formats.
The Ethics Consultation Service is available for patients and families who may be facing difficult decisions and choices regarding care. Our goal is to bring together patients, families and health care providers to talk about ethical concerns and help everyone involved arrive at a resolution that is right for all.
Find practical tips and suggestions for individuals caring for a family member or friend with cancer, including creating a caregiving plan, finding community resources, and looking after your own well-being.
Friends' Place provides personal consultations to help cancer patients of all ages cope with changes in physical appearance that result from cancer treatment. Our experienced, compassionate team provides fittings for compression garments or breast prostheses, helps with wigs and other head coverings, and offers make-up and skincare advice.
The Friends' Corner Gift Shop, located on the first floor of the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care, offers a wide selection of unique gifts and everyday items for patients, families and staff.
Every year, thousands of patients with cancer from around the world come to Dana-Farber for their care. We provide a wide array of logistical and other services for individuals who live outside the United States.
Dana-Farber provides interpreting services for patients whose first language is not English. Interpreters may be requested for any activity, including registration, booking appointments, attending treatments and exams, support groups, and meetings with doctors and other members of your health care team.
Just for Teens provides programs and activities for teens and young adults with cancer at the Jimmy Fund Clinic and Children's Hospital Boston. We offer activities and events both inside and out of the hospital so that you have creative ways to pass the time and can meet other teens who are going through similar experiences.
Our nutritionists are registered dietitians who can assist you in planning an optimal diet during any stage of your cancer journey, cope with any side effects you may experience, and answer your questions about the latest findings on cancer and nutrition.
The Eleanor and Maxwell Blum Patient and Family Resource Center and its satellite resource rooms are staffed by health care professionals and provide computer stations, books, brochures, videos, and CDs to help you find information and support on a variety of issues about cancer treatment and care.
Patients websites help friends and family members stay up-to-date on their loved ones' condition and write messages of support and encouragement.
The Dana-Farber pharmacy fills prescriptions for all pediatric and adult patients. Our pharmacists are an extension of the patient care team and work closely with your physicians to provide seamless, convenient, safe care.
More than 1,200 Dana-Farber patients and their families have enjoyed free trips to baseball games, theater shows, museums, and other attractions this year through the Recreational Resources program.
Through all stages of cancer treatment and survivorship, our Spiritual Care staff is available 24 hours a day to provide emotional and spiritual support for adults and pediatric patients and family members.
Integrative therapies, also known as complementary therapies, range from acupuncture and massage to nutritional guidance and music therapy. Patients treated at the Zakim Center credit its services with easing nausea, improving circulation, and reducing pain, stress, and anxiety associated with cancer treatment.
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