Treating Sarcomas: Pulling Together the Right People at the Right Time
Each year more than 15,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with sarcomas, relatively uncommon cancers in which malignant tumors arise in the connective tissue of the body, including bone, cartilage, fat, muscle and blood vessels. There are more than 50 varieties of sarcomas - affecting people of all ages - that require variable approaches to radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. This presents a unique medical management challenge.
But there are recommended options for treating sarcoma patients. According to UW Health radiation oncologist Kevin Kozak, MD, "The National Comprehensive Cancer Network advises that people diagnosed with or suspected to have a sarcoma be managed by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in sarcomas."
The UW Carbone Cancer Center, Wisconsin's only comprehensive cancer center, offers a multidisciplinary sarcoma clinic for sarcoma patients. The clinic provides comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, staging and treatment, and surveillance. The clinic's team includes UW Health medical oncologist Tom McFarland, MD, Dr. Kozak, orthopedic surgeon John Heiner, MD, spine surgeon Paul Anderson, MD, and many other surgical oncologists who will participate in a patient's care, depending on the type of sarcoma.
Dr. Kozak, assistant professor of human oncology in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, stresses the need to seek prompt diagnosis and treatment for patients with a suspected sarcoma lesion. He says, "If we can define the treatment plan and interventions early, we are more likely to improve the patient's outcome."
UW Health's sarcoma clinic team participates in weekly conferences with a multidisciplinary board of physicians from cancer centers across the country. These weekly conferences provide additional expertise and input from other sarcoma specialists. The UW Health program also has access to numerous clinical trials. Dr. Kozak and the other clinic providers are committed to improving health outcomes for sarcoma patients and welcome the opportunity to serve as a resource for other physicians and providers.
For more information about the UW Health Sarcoma Clinic, or to make a referral, contact Cancer Connect at (800) 622-8922 or (608) 262-5223.