What is Sarcoma and How is it Treated?
George Demetri, MD, Director of the Sarcoma Center at Dana-Farber, provides an easy-to-follow introduction to the complexities of sarcoma definition, research, and treatment.
When you come to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for sarcoma treatment, you will meet with members of our team who have specialized expertise in caring for patients with sarcoma.
This means pathologists, medical oncologists, radiologists, surgeons and other health care professionals with expertise in sarcoma may be involved in important decisions about your care.
Our Multidisciplinary Approach to Sarcoma Treatment
For rare diseases like sarcoma, multidisciplinary cancer care is especially important. Specialists in medical oncology, surgical oncology, and pathology from the Sarcoma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute share their thoughts about the benefits of a team effort in treating sarcoma.
When our pathologists confirm a sarcoma diagnosis, our clinicians meet to discuss next steps. The treatment plan is tailored, as much as possible, to each individual patient and their disease profile, taking into account such details as the patient's age, prior medical conditions, lifestyle and personal preferences.
If the sarcoma is localized — if it has not spread to other parts of the body — the goal is to cure the patient. This could involve surgery and radiation, with chemotherapy also used in certain types of sarcoma. It is important to involve an experienced sarcoma surgeon in treatment decisions.
The Role of the Surgical Oncologist in Sarcoma Treatment
Chandrajit P. Raut, MD, MSc, surgical oncologist, discusses the role of surgery in treating patients with sarcoma.
If the sarcoma is advanced, or metastatic, the goal is to give the patient as high a quality of life as possible for as long as possible, and cure in some cases. This may involve some surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and observation. We will also ensure access to the highest quality clinical research and new drugs available for the treatment of sarcomas.
Radiation Therapy for Soft Tissue Sarcoma
View this Slideshare presentation by Elizabeth Baldini, MD, MPH, radiation oncology director at Dana-Farber's Sarcoma Center, as she discusses the latest radiation therapies for soft tissue sarcoma.
The treatment team at Dana-Farber's sarcoma treatment center consists of more than just physicians. During your treatment, you may also meet and work with many of our vital support team members, including:
- Nurse Practitioners, who focus on treatment-related symptom management, sarcoma education, and home support
- Physician assistants, who assist the surgical oncologist in clinic and care, wound management, and post-surgical symptom management
- Infusion nurses, who administer chemotherapy and focus on symptom management
- Radiation oncology nurses, who evaluate and monitor patients undergoing radiation treatment
- Clinical research coordinators, who coordinate appointments for patients enrolled in clinical trials
- Research nurses, who provide information on clinical trials and are part of the team for all patients enrolled in clinical trials
- Palliative care specialists, who help patients manage pain and the side effects of cancer treatment
- Social workers, who provide emotional support to patients and families during diagnosis, treatment, and beyond
- Psychiatrists and psychologists to help patients process the emotional impact of cancer
Our team can also help you find other support services within Dana-Farber, including nutrition, complementary therapies, spiritual support, financial help, survivorship, and resources for families and young adults.