Radiation Therapy for Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Depending on the size and location of your tumor, we may recommend that you receive radiation therapy before or after you have surgery. When given before surgery, radiation can shrink a tumor, making it easier for our surgeons to remove without harming surrounding tissue and organs. When given after surgery, radiation can make it less likely that the cancer will come back in the same area.

Our doctors deliver radiation therapy in a variety of forms depending on the type of cancer you have, the location of the tumor, and whether it has spread (metastasized). The most common approach at Memorial Sloan Kettering is intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), a sophisticated, computer-guided technique that allows for safe delivery of much higher doses of radiation to the tumor than traditional radiation therapy while sparing the normal surrounding tissues. At MSK, IMRT has become the standard radiation approach used to treat soft tissue sarcoma.

Sometimes we recommend an advanced form of radiation therapy called proton therapy to deliver high doses to tumors that aren’t responding to conventional radiation treatments. This approach also minimizes radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.   

Proton Therapy: A Better Way to Destroy Tumors
Proton therapy uses charged particles to target tumors with precision while reducing the risk of treatment-related side effects.
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For sarcomas that have spread to the brain and spine we sometimes recommend an approach called stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in which we deliver extremely precise, very intense doses of radiation to eliminate tumors.