Bone Cancer Treatments
Sarcomas demand specialized expertise in diagnosis, bone cancer treatment and rehabilitation for the best outcome. The University of Kansas Cancer Center brings together the region’s premier multidisciplinary sarcoma team to treat uncommon bone and soft-tissue tumors in children, teens and adults.
Treatments for bone cancer
From diagnosis through recovery, you’ll receive the full spectrum of care for the whole person. In addition to the latest surgical, medical and radiation options, we provide educational, emotional and spiritual support for people living with sarcoma. Our surgical techniques and therapies include:
- Carbon fiber technology for bone reconstruction
- Complex vascular resection and reconstruction
- Customized modular limb reconstruction techniques
- 3D pelvic reconstruction
- Reverse shoulder replacement
- Growing prostheses for the youngest patients
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
- Minimally invasive radiofrequency ablation
- Stereotactic radiosurgery
- 3D printed surgical planning guides (for more precise tumor removal)
After a sarcoma is found and staged, the cancer care team will recommend one or several bone cancer treatments, depending on its location and how far the cancer has spread. Options may include:
Surgery is the most common treatment for sarcomas. Surgical resection consists of removal of the entire cancerous part, inclusive of a cuff or margin of normal tissue surrounding the mass, and in one piece, to ensure that every cancerous cell is removed.
At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, we provide the most advanced surgical treatments for sarcoma – including those not available anywhere else in the region. Our dedicated bone/soft-tissue pathology team is present in the operating room and assists in ensuring that every last cancer cell is removed.
We are the only cancer center in the region using 3D printed surgical guides for more precise bone tumor removal. These guides are tailored to your anatomy and specific bone tumor and help your care team preplan your treatment. With these guides, the amount of tumor removed is maximized while the amount of healthy bone taken is minimized. Our sarcoma specialists use novel reconstruction techniques and work closely with prosthetic device manufacturers to offer the most customized options available.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are 2 types of radiotherapy:
- External radiotherapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer.
- Internal radiotherapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer.
The way you receive radiotherapy depends on the type and stage of your cancer.
Chemotherapy uses medicines to destroy cancer cells or to alter their metabolism. You may receive it before or after surgery. Our doctors develop new chemotherapy drugs based on clinical research trial results. These drugs treat specific cells or the way cells grow, including:
- Targeted therapies that kill cancer cells without affecting healthy cells
- Drugs that prevent the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors
These can be used with regular chemotherapy and surgery, when needed.
Interventional radiology uses several advanced techniques, such as:
- Radioembolization: Cutting off the blood supply to the tumor
- Radiofrequency ablation: Destroying tumor tissue with heat
- Chemoembolization: Injecting anticancer drugs directly into the blood vessel feeding a cancerous tumor
- Microwave ablation: Injecting microwave energy, similar to your microwave at home, through a fine needle to destroy cancer cells
- Calypso® 4D Localization System™: Using leading-edge technology to track the movement of targeted tissue for more accurate delivery of energy
We offer a minimally invasive treatment option for metastatic and benign spinal tumors. Spinal tumor radiofrequency ablation is only available in the Kansas City region at The University of Kansas Health System, including the health system’s Indian Creek Campus and The University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Using the STAR™ Tumor Ablation System, physicians are able to shrink spinal tumors using a probe that emits heat generated by radiofrequency energy. This delivers rapid and sustained pain relief. Many people report dramatic pain relief within 24 hours of the outpatient procedure.
Radiofrequency ablation is performed in a single treatment, often taking less than 90 minutes. With their pain eased, those with cancerous tumors – and their care team – can focus on the cancer treatment without interruption.
Radiofrequency ablation may also offer a treatment option for people who have reached their maximum radiation dose limits or those with radiotherapy-resistant tumors.
By beginning with the STAR procedure before any other treatments, you may have a more comfortable radiation or chemotherapy treatment process.
- Rapid back pain relief through a minimally invasive, targeted, outpatient procedure
- Compatible with patients’ current cancer treatments
- Alternative for people who have reached their cumulative radiation dose limit
- Potential treatment for radiation-resistant tumors
Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing. Hormones are substances produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream. Some hormones can cause certain cancers to grow. If tests show the cancer cells have places where hormones can attach (receptors), chemotherapy, surgery or radiation therapy is used to reduce the production of hormones or block them from working.
Clinical trials for bone cancer
As a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, we are actively involved in sarcoma research. This includes investigating the application of bioengineering and biomechanical techniques to the development of prosthetic limbs for sarcoma patients. Additionally, we offer a range of clinical research trials designed to identify safer and more effective approaches to the prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
NCI-designated cancer centers like The University of Kansas Cancer Center have achieved the highest standards in cancer care and research. Promising cancer research leads to improved treatment.
Life after bone cancer
At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, we offer advanced reconstruction techniques as part of your bone cancer survivorship services:
- 3D custom pelvis reconstruction
- Surgically implanted prosthetic devices for children that can grow with the child in a noninvasive way
- Reverse shoulder resection for humerus tumors
- Rotationplasty, which uses the ankle to create a new knee joint
- 3D-printed cutting guides for precise resection of bone tumors that remove the minimum amount of healthy bone
- Custom prosthetic designs
We also connect patients with Turning Point, a program of The University of Kansas Health System. Turning Point offers cancer-related wellness programs and educational classes at no charge, including empowerment programs for children of all ages.