Common treatment options for sarcoma include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, brachytherapy and targeted therapy, according to Cancer.Net. Recommended treatments vary based on the patient's health condition and preferences, as well as the sarcoma's stage, type and grade.
After a biopsy is performed to confirm the presence of the sarcoma, surgery is generally the primary treatment option if the sarcoma is small and isolated, as stated by Cancer.Net. If the sarcoma is larger than 5 centimeters in diameter, a combination of surgery and radiation or chemotherapy may be used. Radiation therapy may either be performed before the operation to shrink the tumor or afterwards to kill remaining cancer cells. Complications include a sunburn-like skin rash and long-term effects such as scarring. Chemotherapy is often performed on an outpatient basis, and the medications may be taken orally or intravenously. This option is most often utilized if the sarcoma has spread. Medications vary based on the subtype of sarcoma.
Brachytherapy is a method in which radioactive seeds are placed in the patient for around 15 minutes once or twice a day, states Cancer.Net. This leaves patients free of radiation for most of the day so they may go about normal activities or receive visits from family and friends if staying in the hospital. Targeted therapy works by honing in on specific environmental tissues or cancer proteins that contribute to sarcoma growth.