KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," 1/22/12, 7:30 AM and KTTU "In Focus," 1/29/12, 10:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Michael Manning, MD, radiation oncologist, Arizona Oncology and Daniel McCabe, MD,  surgical oncologist, Southwestern Surgery Associates.  Sarcoma is rare. But it is very serious, especially if diagnosed when the disease is more advanced.  

Dr. McCabe says about 10,980 new soft tissue sarcomas will be diagnosed this year. He says sarcoma is a malignant tumor of the soft tissues of the body, such as fat, muscles, nerves, tendons, and blood and lymph vessels. He says most sarcomas develop in people with no known risk factors, so there is no way known at this time to prevent most cases.  He says twenty years ago, amputation was virtually the only form of treatment for patients with sarcoma of the limbs. It is now required in fewer than one in 20 of all such patients.

Dr. Manning says through the use of a specialized radiation therapy, small tubes placed under the skin at the site of the sarcoma.  He said a high dose of radiation is then delivered directly to the tumor by using a robotically-controlled catheter.  He says there is very little damage to any nerves or tissue beyond the tumor site. He says treatment usually lasts about four or five days.  He says patients remain functional and on their feet, without the potential loss of limbs.  

Dr. Manning says each person knows their own body and should be on the lookout for any lumps that may be increasing in size.  He says other warning signs are swelling, pain, and discomfort in the limbs.  He says the procedure described by Dr. McCabe has a better than 80-percent successful outcome, requiring no further treatment.  But, he cautions, patients must be closely monitored afterward for signs of a recurrence of sarcoma.