Bone & Soft Tissue Tumors in Children

The SLUCare Physician Group orthopedic oncologists at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital are skilled at diagnosing and treating bone and soft tissue tumors in children. We use a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates the most advanced treatments to optimize recovery rates while protecting your child’s overall health. Through personalized care, we work to get your child back to being a kid as soon as possible.

Your child’s care team includes medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, nurses and therapists to ensure effective, complete care. As a team, we specialize in treating:

  • Benign (non-cancerous) bone tumors and lesions
  • Primary bone cancer (bone sarcomas)
  • Soft tissue (muscles and tendons) sarcomas
  • Metastatic bone disease

Diagnosing Your Child’s Bone & Soft Tissue Tumors

Bone or soft tissue cancer is often detected by examining a child’s symptoms and performing imaging and blood tests. In most cases, our doctors must confirm this suspicion by conducting a biopsy to examine tissue under a microscope.

If your child has a tumor and it is benign, our orthopedic team will meet with you to discuss the available treatment options to remove the tumor, preserving as much of the surrounding healthy bone and tissue as possible. If your child has a malignant tumor, our team will consult with a board of pediatric experts to determine a comprehensive medical and surgical plan that’s best for your child.

Types of Bone & Soft Tissue Sarcomas

Malignant tumors or sarcoma in the bone or soft tissue are caused by abnormal mutations in a cell’s DNA. When these cells grow and multiply out of control, a tumor forms, and can invade other structures, spreading to other parts of the body. In children, these sarcomas can be found anywhere in the body but are most often found in the arms, legs, chest, and abdomen. Sometimes sarcomas can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs. There are different types of bone and soft tissue sarcomas:

  • Ewing sarcoma - cancerous tumor of the bones or soft tissue
  • Osteosarcoma - most common type of bone cancer, accounts for about 3% of cancers in children
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma - cancerous tumor made up of cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles

Treating Your Child’s Bone & Soft Tissue Tumors

Our team offers different techniques to treat these types of cancer.

  • Surgery is the go-to treatment for soft tissue tumors. Our doctors combine both skill and the most advanced techniques to ensure the least invasive surgery. For bone tumors, skeletal and joint reconstruction procedures allow our doctors to save the limbs of the majority of our patients.
  • Chemotherapy may shrink tumors before surgery, or make it easier for our doctors to remove tumors during surgery. If the cancer has spread, chemo might be recommended as a more aggressive response.
  • Radiation therapy is helpful in targeting tumors more precisely. Radiation can shrink tumors before or after surgery and eliminate remaining cancer cells.

If your child has a bone or soft tissue tumor, it’s important to see a trained orthopedic oncologist. An early diagnosis is the best way to improve your child’s outcome. In some cases, watchful waiting is the best approach. No matter your child’s condition, we’ll help you understand the implications and empower you with the right plan to help your child make a full recovery.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment with our team. We will follow up on any initial findings from your primary care doctor and discuss your next steps.

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