Sarcomas are tumors that arise from connective tissues such as
muscle, fat, nerves, and bone. As such, they can occur in any area of
the body. There are over 50 different histologic subtypes of sarcoma,
including desmoid tumors.
The primary treatment for most sarcomas is an operation to remove the
tumor if it is symptomatic or has not spread to other locations.
Specially trained cancer surgeons from the Department of Surgery adhere
to the principles of sarcoma surgery and work as part of a
multidisciplinary team to develop the optimal treatment strategy for
each particular sarcoma.
Sarcomas occurring within the abdomen and retroperitoneum are often
complex tumors involving multiple other organs or structures. Specially
trained cancer surgeons use their judgment and considerable experience
working with other physicians and surgeons to design an operation that
removes the tumor while preserving critical structures or reconstructing
major blood vessels.
For patients with localized sarcomas that cannot be completely
removed by conventional techniques, our surgeons have pioneered a
technique of radiofrequency assisted debulking of large symptomatic abdominal and pelvic tumors. (link to publication)
Sarcomas of the extremity (arm or leg) require pre-operative planning
to optimize the chance of controlling the tumor while preserving as
much normal motor function as possible. For example, tumors occurring on
the extremities may require radiation therapy either before of after an
operation to reduce the risk of recurrence. Other techniques to
preserve limb function include heated isolated limb infusion of high dose chemotherapy and plastic reconstructive techniques.