Physician-scientists use clinical trials to study new ways to treat sarcomas, such as new medications or a new type of surgery. If you join a clinical trial, you may have access to a more effective treatment that is not widely available yet.
Before you start treatment, ask your physician if you can join a clinical trial.
Treatment for your sarcoma depends on many things, such as:
- Your health
- Which sarcoma you have
- The size of the tumor
- If your tumor has spread to other parts of your body
- Where your tumor is
- What stage your tumor is
These factors will help your care team decide if you need 1 treatment or many treatments. Some of these treatments are described below.
The surgeon will remove the whole tumor or as much of it as possible. They will keep as much of the affected body part as possible. The size of the tumor generally determines if surgery is enough. Some tumors also need to be treated with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Those treatments may happen before or after surgery.
Also called radiotherapy, this treatment kills cancer cells with energy from radiation beams or other sources. Your care team may use it to shrink a tumor before surgery. Or, they may use it to kill cancer cells that did not get removed during surgery.
This treatment is a type of radiation therapy. It uses high-energy protons instead of X-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation can harm healthy tissue near the cancer. Proton therapy delivers a dose of radiation to tumors with precision. This helps minimize damage to nearby healthy tissue.
Chemotherapy is a type of medication that can shrink and kill cancer cells. Your medical oncologist (a physician specially trained in cancer care) may inject the medication into a vein to carry it through your body. Or, they may inject it into the blood vessels around the tumor. You may get chemotherapy before or after surgery. If the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, you may get chemotherapy without surgery.
Many biological treatments have been developed to treat sarcoma. One example is immunotherapy, which trains your immune system to fight cancer. Another example is using molecules that target certain genes specific to the cancer cells.
Supportive treatments protect you from infection. They help you stay comfortable and help your blood cells become healthier. You may get a blood transfusion to restore the blood cells destroyed by treatment. After treatment, you may need physical therapy to get your body working like it used to.
After your cancer treatment is over, your care team may still need to watch you to make sure the cancer does not come back. They may also need to follow up and make sure you have no long-term problems caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Some patients will need regular follow-up visits for the rest of their life.
Follow-up care may include:
- Clinic visits
- Blood tests
- Imaging tests