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Bone cancer and soft tissue cancer are rare — and so is the care you’ll find at our Cancer Center. Our team of experts guides you through your treatment journey with compassion, expertise and the latest treatments.

These cancers can start almost anywhere in the body, including bones, muscles, nerves, fat, blood vessels and other tissues. No matter where your cancer formed, our experts can help you get the treatment you need.

Why Choose Us for Bone and Soft Tissue Cancer Care

  • We’re the only bone and soft tissue cancer program in the region.
  • As a high-volume center, we perform more than 500 surgical cases yearly — so you get the expert care you need.
  • Our doctors help bring treatment breakthroughs from the lab to the bedside, which means you get the latest treatment options.
  • Our PossAbilities program helps amputees and patients with various disabilities live active and healthy lives.

Cancers and Conditions We Treat

There are many types of bone and soft tissue cancers, and some are very rare. We treat all cancerous and non-cancerous tumors that start in bone and soft tissue, including:

  • Benign (non-cancerous) tumors of the musculoskeletal system (your muscles, bones and other connective tissues)
  • Soft tissue sarcoma, a cancer that forms in soft tissues
  • Osteosarcoma, the most common bone cancer
  • Chondrosarcoma, which starts in cartilage and is the second most common bone cancer
  • Ewing sarcoma, a very rare cancer most common in children and teens
  • Fibrosarcoma, a rare cancer that starts in fibrous tissues
  • Pleomorphic sarcoma (or malignant fibrous histiocytoma), which forms in either bone or soft tissue in the legs, arms or back of the abdomen

Treatment for Bone and Soft Tissue Cancers

Experts from many different fields craft your treatment plan for your unique needs. Treatment can vary depending on the patient, type of cancer and how far the cancer has progressed (its stage). We’ll help you understand all your treatment options, which may include medical therapies, radiation therapy, nonsurgical procedures, surgery or supportive care. To ensure you get the best care possible, you’ll most likely need more than one type of treatment.

Your Patient Journey

Diagnosis

Your cancer care team will run tests to better understand and diagnose your skeletal and soft tissue cancer. These tests may include:

  • Bone scan, which can help determine the cause of bone pain
  • EOS imaging system, which provides highly detailed images with far less radiation than other imaging techniques like X-ray
  • Genetic testing to see if you have genes that increase your risk for certain bone and soft tissue cancers
  • PET/CT scan, which can provide detailed images of tissues and organs and highlight abnormal activity

Staging

A critical part of any cancer diagnosis is staging, where we examine how much the cancer has grown or spread. Accurate staging is one of the most important steps on your patient journey because it drives your treatment. Our specialists determine which of the five stages your cancer is in, and what each means for you:

  • Stage 0: There isn't any cancer, but there are cells present that could become cancer.
  • Stage I: The cancer is contained to one area and hasn't grown very much.
  • Stage II:The cancer has grown and started affecting nearby tissues or lymph nodes.
  • Stage III: The cancer has grown even more and may soon spread to other areas.
  • Stage IV: The cancer has "metastasized," or spread to other parts of the body.

Patients who have more accurate staging get more effective treatments and have a better chance at beating their disease. We first use a variety of advanced tools and techniques to provide you the most precise staging possible. Then, a group of specialists from multiple disciplines works together to create the best treatment plan for you.

Medical Treatments

Medical treatments fight bone and soft tissue cancers with specialized drugs. Depending on your diagnosis, your treatment plan may include: 

  • Chemotherapy, a drug therapy given to stop cancer cells from growing and dividing. We’ll help you understand how chemo can affect you and how many rounds of chemo you’ll need. We also provide access to resources (including a dietitian) to help you through any side effects you may experience.
  • Precision therapy, which uses genetic testing to find weaknesses in cancer cells. If your cancer has one of these weaknesses, we may be able to target it with certain drugs. While this treatment isn’t available in every case, it can be an effective treatment for certain cancers and certain people.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (or radiotherapy) uses high energy X-rays to help kill cancer cells. Depending on your diagnosis, radiotherapy may be combined with other treatment options for the best results. Radiotherapy can be given before surgery to shrink the size of a tumor or after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

Proton-based stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) can deliver more precise radiation to smaller tumors. You might receive SBRT if surgery isn’t a good choice for a certain tumor. SBRT is also effective when there is a recurrence of cancer, where standard radiation treatment could not be used again. Loma Linda University Cancer Center was the first in the world to offer proton-based radiotherapy in a hospital setting.

Surgery

Our team combines expertise from surgical oncologists (cancer surgeons) and thoracic (chest) and orthopedic (bone, joint and muscle) surgeons. Experts provide a full range of procedures and services, including minimally invasive procedures that use fewer or smaller incisions and offer faster recovery. Our surgical procedures and services include:

  • Computer-assisted navigational surgery, which allows for safer, more effective surgeries.
  • Cryosurgery, which uses intense cold to freeze and kill cancer cells.
  • Custom 3D-printed surgical fittings, which help guide your surgeon, allowing a procedure to save as much bone as possible.
  • Expandable bone implants, which allow pediatric patients to maintain equally long limbs as they continue to grow.
  • Isolated limb perfusion, a surgical technique used to deliver heated chemotherapy directly to a tumor in your arm or leg.
  • Limb and joint reconstruction, which can restore function to a limb or joint after the diseased areas are removed.
  • Robotic limb salvage surgery, which replaces diseased bone and reconstructs a limb using implants or donated bone.

Research & Clinical Trials

Our doctors work on breakthroughs in cancer care every day. We offer clinical trials for potential treatments that may be able to help patients with limited options. View all of our current cancer clinical trials to learn more about the trials available to you.

Supportive Care

Helping patients be healthy means more than healing your body. We also support your mental and spiritual health before, during and after your treatment. Your care team is with you and your family every step of the way.

Some of your support services include:

  • A dedicated nurse navigator and intake coordinator to answer all of your questions and concerns from diagnosis through treatment.
  • Integrated dietitians to help you get the right nutrition and manage the gastrointestinal side effects of treatment.
  • Pastoral and psychosocial care to support your spiritual, mental, emotional and social health during a time that challenges all four.
  • Patient education on your condition, treatment options and life during and after cancer
  • Symptom management experts who focus on helping you through your cancer treatment and the side effects you may experience
  • Support groups and cancer support programs