Sarcoma

Proton Therapy Treatment for Sarcoma

Sarcomas are cancerous tumors which develop in connective tissues. Connective tissue describes parts of the body including fat, bones, muscles, nerves, and cartilage. There are two main groups of sarcomas, soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas, which are subdivided further based on specific characteristics. Sarcomas can develop in adults but are more prevalent in children. 

Symptoms

Symptoms of sarcoma often do not appear in the early stages of the cancer. Typical symptoms include:

  • Pain if a tumor presses on nerves or muscles
  • A noticeable lump or swelling
  • A blockage in the stomach or intestines or gastrointestinal bleeding (if tumor is in abdomen/digestive tract)

Diagnosis

When diagnosing a sarcoma, a physician will most likely complete a physical exam and various imaging tests, including x-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). A physician may also choose to complete a biopsy, removing an area of affected tissue to examine for cancer.

Treatment

When delivering proton treatment, physicians are able to aggressively treat tumors with high doses of protons while protecting surrounding tissue. Because the protons enter the body at the targeted spot, then stop, removing the exit dose, the sensitive tissue that usually surrounds the sarcoma will receive less secondhand radiation.

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