Soft tissue sarcoma

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Treatments for recurrent soft tissue sarcoma

Recurrent means the cancer has come back after it has been treated. The following are treatment options for recurrent soft tissue sarcoma. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and your type of soft tissue sarcoma. They will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatments will depend on where the cancer comes back and if it has spread to other parts of the body. Your healthcare team will also consider the type of treatment you had for the primary (first) tumour.

Local recurrence

Local recurrence means that the cancer comes back in the same area as the primary tumour. The following treatments may be offered for a local recurrence of soft tissue sarcoma.

Surgery

Surgery is sometimes used to treat a local recurrence of soft tissue sarcoma. Surgery includes removing all of the tumour and some of the normal tissue around it.

Recurrences in a limb are often treated aggressively. The limb may need to be amputated, especially if limb-sparing surgery was used to treat the primary tumour.

Radiation therapy

External radiation therapy is often used after surgery to treat a local recurrence. If it was already used to treat the primary tumour, doctors take special precautions to prevent the area from getting too much radiation and causing problems.

Distant recurrence

Distant recurrence, or metastatic cancer, means that the cancer comes back in a part of the body other than where the cancer started. The following treatments may be offered for distant recurrent soft tissue sarcoma.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may be offered when a soft tissue sarcoma recurs in distant organs, such as the lungs or liver.

Surgery

Soft tissue sarcoma that recurs in a lung can sometimes be removed with surgery. This will depend on the number, size and location of the tumours in the lung.

Radiation therapy

External radiation therapy may be offered to relieve symptoms of advanced recurrent soft tissue sarcoma. This is called palliative radiation therapy.

If you can’t have or don’t want cancer treatment

You may want to consider a type of care to make you feel better without treating the cancer itself. This may be because the cancer treatments don’t work anymore, they’re not likely to improve your condition or they may cause side effects that are hard to cope with. There may also be other reasons why you can’t have or don’t want cancer treatment.

Talk to your healthcare team. They can help you choose care and treatment for advanced cancer.

Clinical trials

Talk to your doctor about clinical trials open to people in Canada with soft tissue sarcoma. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

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