Our treatment approach
At MD Anderson's Children's Cancer Hospital, one of the world's foremost team of experts customizes a treatment plan for your child. This multidisciplinary group is among the few in the nation with specialized experience in treating these rare types of cancers.
Children's Cancer Hospital is committed to providing the most advanced treatments for soft tissue sarcoma with the least impact on your child's body, today and in the future.
The team that treats your child for soft tissue sarcoma includes a number of highly trained doctors, including oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists. They are supported by a group of dedicated professionals such as advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, therapists and social workers.
Surgery often is the main treatment for soft tissue sarcoma. Procedures often are delicate and complex. Our surgeons are among the most skilled in the world in surgery for soft tissue sarcoma. They use the latest techniques and technology to give your child the best possible chances for successful treatment.
Children's Cancer Hospital offers a range of clinical trials for soft tissue sarcomas. We are on the forefront of discovering new and better ways to treat soft tissue sarcoma, and this can translate to better chances for successful treatment for your child.
Our soft tissue sarcoma treatments
If your child is diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, the doctor will talk to you about the best ways to treat it. This depends on several things, including:
- The location and type of sarcoma
- If the cancer has spread
- Your child's age and health
Your child's treatment for soft tissue sarcoma will be customized and carefully planned. It may include one or more of the following.
The main treatment for soft tissue sarcoma is surgery. If the entire tumor can be removed, successful treatment is more likely.
Like all surgeries, sarcoma surgery is most successful when performed by a specialist with a great deal of experience in the particular procedure. Children's Cancer Hospital surgeons are some of the most skilled and recognized in the world. They are among the few surgeons in the world who specialize in soft tissue sarcoma treatment, and they use the least-invasive and most advanced techniques.
During the operation, the surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible, as well as some tissue around it to take out as many cancer cells as possible. Lymph nodes may be removed too.
Your child may receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy before or after the surgery.
Because of a special type of surgery called limb-sparing surgery, which often is followed with radiation therapy, most patients do not have to have arms or legs removed to treat sarcoma.
Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove during surgery. In certain types of soft tissue sarcoma, or if the cancer has spread, chemotherapy may be given after surgery.
Advanced radiation therapy techniques and renowned skill allow Children's Cancer Hospital doctors to target tumors more precisely, delivering the maximum amount of radiation with the least impact on healthy cells.
Although radiation therapy usually is not the main treatment for soft tissue sarcoma, it may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to eliminate remaining cancer cells. It also may be used if the tumor cannot be removed by surgery. Children's Cancer Hospital provides the most advanced radiation treatments, including:
- 3D-conformal radiation therapy: Several radiation beams are given in the exact shape of the tumor
- Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT): Treatment is tailored to the specific shape of the tumor
The Proton Therapy Center at MD Anderson is one of the largest and most advanced centers in the world. It's the only proton therapy facility in the country located within a comprehensive cancer center. This means that this cutting-edge therapy is backed by all the expertise and compassionate care for which MD Anderson is famous.
Proton therapy delivers high radiation doses directly to the tumor site, sparing nearby healthy tissue and vital organs. For some patients, this therapy results in better cancer control with less impact on the body.
Sometimes the best approach is to monitor your child closely for a period of time before beginning treatment.
Children's Cancer Hospital is leading into the future of soft tissue sarcoma treatment by developing innovative targeted therapies. These agents are specially designed to treat each cancer's specific genetic/molecular profile to help your body fight the disease.
Many of the doctors at Children's Cancer Hospital are dedicated researchers who have pioneered and actively lead national and international clinical trials with novel targeted agents.