Depending on the type of sarcoma, its location, and its size, radiation therapy may be necessary. Radiation may be administered externally or by implanting seeds or wafers inside the body that emit radiation waves continually.
For soft-tissue sarcoma, radiation therapy is usually done prior to surgical resection. Radiation therapy may also be used to kill remaining cancer cells after surgery.
Specific examples of radiation treatment plans offered at the Duke Cancer Institute include 3D-conformal radiation therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy, and intraoperative radiotherapy.
Especially effective for extremity sarcomas, state-of-the-art 3D-conformal and intensity modulated radiation therapy (also known as image guided radiation therapy treatment planning) uses modern tumor imaging and advanced software tools to focus the radiation beam at the site of the tumor, thereby minimizing incidental irradiation of normal tissue. As a result, side effects from radiation can be limited.
The Duke Cancer Institute is one of a handful of cancer centers nationwide offering intraoperative radiotherapy to treat certain sarcomas.
In this innovative treatment, a computer-controlled robot delivers a rice grain-sized bit of radioactive material to the site of a tumor during surgery, helping reduce damage to normal tissue and organs. The treatment may be performed at the time of the tumor-removing operation.
To make an appointment or refer a patient to the multidisciplinary sarcoma team at the Duke Cancer Institute, call 919-613-5550 or 877-SARC DUKE (877-727-2385).