Soft tissue sarcoma is not one illness but actually represents more than 70 subtypes of disease. Since there is no single way to manage it, specialized diagnosis and staging approaches as well as surgical expertise are critical to successful treatment. Some soft tissue sarcoma subtypes are easily cured with surgery alone, for example, while others are eliminated only through surgery in combination with chemotherapy, radiation treatment or both.
Memorial Sloan Kettering’s new informational guide describes our approach to assessing soft tissue sarcoma subtypes and combining surgical techniques with comprehensive follow-up care, and survivorship and rehabilitation services.
It was at Memorial Sloan Kettering that researchers pioneered ways to analyze soft tissue sarcoma subtypes, and today we are leading the Sarcoma Genome Project searching for the genetic markers that reveal tumor aggressiveness and likely response to treatment. Every one of our patients with soft tissue sarcoma receives genetic and molecular sequencing of their tumor.
Surgical Expertise and Treatment Options through Clinical Trials
Currently surgery is the primary approach to soft tissue treatment, and we operate on a large number of people – approximately 600 each year – many of them with sarcomas considered inoperable elsewhere. Reconstruction techniques we developed enable us to repair nerves and blood vessels, as well as transfer muscle and soft tissue, in such a way that we can preserve your ability to keep using that part of the body normally.
Patients also have access to our online predication tool, called a nomogram, which is built on a vast surgical database and can help you and your doctors make important treatment decisions.
If you are newly diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, we may be able to offer you enrollment in an innovative clinical trial investigating new ways to treat your sarcoma subtype. And if you have already been treated and the tumor has returned, consider speaking to one of our specialists about trials testing new immunotherapy approaches, vaccines, and combinations of existing therapies.