Sarcoma Surgery Program

As part of the Sarcoma Oncology Program, our surgical oncologists provide expert diagnosis and treatment of sarcomas and other tumors of the bones, muscles and connective tissues.

Sarcomas and cancers of the connective tissues are uncommon and complex, and require advanced training and expertise for effective diagnosis and treatment. Every patient’s disease is different, with individually unique genes and molecules driving that disorder. Every patient we see receives personalized care.

The Sarcoma and Connective Tissue Oncology Program includes expert surgical oncologists, orthopaedic oncologists, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, physical therapists, nutritionists, and counselors who work together to provide advanced and coordinated care.

Our patients are presented at a multidisciplinary tumor board where specific details including pathology and radiology results are discussed. We also discuss if a patient is eligible for a clinical trial. The treatments we recommend are based on multiple factors including the patient’s extent of disease (stage of cancer), overall health, tolerance for particular procedures and therapies, and individual preferences. Our goal is to help our patients to live longer, with the best quality of life.

Conditions we treat

  • Soft tissue sarcomas—cancers from any of the soft tissues of the body such as fat, muscle and other connective tissues. In adults, the majority form in the arms, legs, head, neck, trunk, abdomen and retroperitoneum (pelvis).
  • Desmoid tumors or desmoid fibromatosis
  • Benign tumors and cysts of the connective tissue including lipomas and sebaceous cysts

Treatments and procedures

  • Surgical biopsy for accurate diagnosis
  • Wide local excision (WLE) to remove the tumor and some normal tissue around the tumor
  • Radical resection to remove abdominal or retroperitoneal tumors with adjacent tissue and organs when necessary
  • Limb-sparing surgery to remove the soft tissue tumor in the patient’s arm or leg, which may require reconstruction (with a graft of the patient’s healthy tissue or with artificial materials) to replace tissue removed during surgery
  • Amputation in rare cases when the limb may not be preserved
  • State-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment that includes intraoperative, ultra-high-resolution CT scanning, intraoperative MRI, and surgical navigation through the Center for Surgical Innovation.

Surgery is the main treatment for soft tissue sarcoma that has not spread (metastasized). It is important to remove the entire tumor with surrounding tissue and organs. Our expert surgeons are able to preserve limbs (prevent amputation) in the majority of cases. For more advanced tumors, our multidisciplinary team may recommend treatments in addition to surgery, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or a combination of these modalities.

Clinical trials

Cancer patients may enter clinical trials before, during or after starting cancer treatment. As a part of our multidisciplinary tumor board, we discuss whether patients are eligible for a clinical trial. Our surgical oncologists advance knowledge of treatment options and outcomes for sarcoma through these clinical trials.