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Understanding Sarcoma! 
Sarcomas are rare cancers that develop in the muscle, bone, nerves, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels and the fatty and fibrous tissues. 

If you have been diagnosed with sarcoma, you should be referred to a specialist sarcoma team for diagnosis and treatment of this kind of cancer.

Welcome to the Australian Sarcoma Group Website . . .

The Australian Sarcoma Group is a small organisation comprised of medical and paramedical professionals who specialise in providing diagnostic and therapeutic services to people with musculoskeletal tumours. You will find useful information , helpful advice & all needed contacts here!

Thousands of people around the world are diagnosed with sarcomas each year. These patients and their loved ones start the sarcoma journey with unique life histories, strengths and resources. Many share the same hopes: to deal well with the challenges before them, to experience as much goodness as possible, and to recover as fully as possible so that they can move forward with their lives.

At the start of the sarcoma journey, it can help to truly “take in” the fact that thousands of people have been down this road before. You are not alone! Many survivors walk ahead in the distance, having made it through these difficult days. Their words and experiences provide a vision of the way through cancer and into the future.


 

Treating Sarcoma

Sarcomas are tumours that usually present as a lump that may be painful or painless. The diagnosis is usually made by tissue biopsy. It is recommended that the biopsy be performed after consultation with a sarcoma expert if the lump is in bone or is larger than a golf ball.

Your specialist will usually arrange staging studies before the biopsy if there is a strong suspicion of sarcoma.

Treatment of sarcomas is primarily surgical. In most sites this will be undertaken by an orthopaedic oncologist - a surgeon trained in the treatment of tumours. Depending on the type of tumour, your specialist may also recommend treatment with either radiation therapy or chemotherapy and this may take place before the surgery.

Radiation therapy is administered to sterilise the tissues around the tumour mass to facilitate surgery and reduce recurrences. Conventional radiotherapy is conducted as an outpatient using external beam (EBRT) in small doses called fractions. Treatment may take up to 5 1/2 weeks. In some cases radiation may be administered to the surgical site at the time of operation by a technique known as brachytherapy. Some centres also offer radiation to bones affected by cancer by taking the bone outside the body and then re-implanting it. This is known as extracorporeal radiation.

For certain types of sarcoma, particularly some paediatric tumours, chemotherapy is an important part of treatment and has improved the chances of cure. Cytotoxic chemotherapy targets rapidly growing cancer cells but also has side effects on the rest of the body. It will often take many months to complete. Intravenous drugs are usually given via a "port" - a small chamber inserted under the skin to make access easier. Chemotherapy will often entail inpatient admission. Most adult soft tissue sarcomas do not incorporate chemotherapy as a routine part of treatment.

More recently, targeted therapies against certain types of tumours have been developed. These are also administered by medical oncologists and may be part of international trials.

Treatment of sarcomas is complex and often requires multi-disciplinary care. Best results are obtained within specialised sarcoma units and ASG recommends contacting one of the Units listed in your state.

Seek a professional

The ASG comprises experts in the diagnosis and treatment musculoskeletal tumours and sarcomas.

The group includes orthopaedic oncologists (surgeons trained in sarcoma care), general surgeons, radiologists skilled in diagnosis and biopsy, specialist pathologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and allied health professionals who are experienced & knowledgeable in the field.

Please contact someone locally available from the state-by-state list on this website. We aim to give you clear, helpful advice & treatment.


""Cancer didn't bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet."
~Michael Douglas

"It's about focusing on the fight and not the fright."
~Robin Roberts