Sarcoma Diagnostic and Treatment Options

A technician uses medical imaging for sarcomasThe Lifespan Cancer Institute’s facilities are equipped with the most advanced technology, enabling us to provide a full range of innovative treatments. Treatment plans also include any necessary rehabilitation to help you return to the best possible physical function.

To provide complete care from diagnosis to recovery, we offer supportive programs such as nutrition consulting, survivorship programs, support groups, and counseling. Nurse navigators collaborate with treating physicians to guide patients through diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Treatment options for sarcoma vary depending on the type, location, and extent of the cancer, as well as a person’s age and general health. Treatment plans often include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

How Are Sarcomas Diagnosed?

The suspected type of sarcoma determines the diagnostic tools that are used. Among them are:

Biopsy

A tissue sample is taken to examine under a microscope for the presence of cancerous cells. In some cases, tests are done on the cells’ proteins, DNA, and RNA.

CAT scan

Computed tomography scans capture a cross-section of the body, depicting your bones, organs, and soft tissues more clearly than X-rays. These images show a tumor’s shape, size, and location, as well as the blood vessels that supply it.

MRI

Like a CAT scan, an MRI creates cross-section images of your bones, organs, and other tissues, but uses powerful magnets, not radiation. MRI creates better views of soft tissues than other imaging tests can provide. MRI technology may also be used to help plan surgery or radiation therapy.

X-ray

X-rays, also called radiographs, produce images of bones and certain organs and tissues. They are quick to make and less costly than CAT scans or MRIs, but provide less information.

How Are Sarcomas Treated?

Care plans are individualized for each patient. Treatment may include:

Surgery

Surgery is the primary treatment for most sarcomas.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may used alone or in combination with chemotherapy, and may follow surgery.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is used to treat sarcomas that cannot be cured by surgery alone. This therapy uses drugs, often in combination, to stop the growth of cancer cells that may have spread beyond the original site of the cancer to other areas of the body. It works by preventing cancer cells from multiplying, by eliminating the nutrients they need to survive, or by killing them.

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