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Bone and soft tissue cancers

Image: A Peter Mac nurse speaking with a student on a ward round

About bone and soft tissue cancers

Sarcomas are bone cancers that can grow in bone anywhere in the body. Most cancers that occur in the bone have spread from another part of the body, such as the breast or lung. These are known as metastatic bone cancers and differ from cancers that start in bone.

Osteosarcoma (osteogenic sarcoma)

The most common type of cancer that develops in bone is called osteosarcoma. Like other cancers, osteosarcoma can spread beyond the bone into nearby tissue (such as muscle, tendons, and fat). Cancer cells from osteosarcoma can also sometimes break away from the main tumour and spread through the bloodstream to other bones, or to the lungs or other internal organs, this process is called metastasis.

Soft tissue sarcomas

These are malignant (cancerous) tumours that can develop from fat, muscle, nerve, fibrous tissues surrounding joints, blood vessel, or deep skin tissues. They can develop in any part of the body.

There are many different types of soft tissue and bone tumours; approximately 50 altogether, although these are very rare. Soft-tissue tumours include: malignant fibrous histiocytoma;  leiomyosarcoma; liposarcoma; synovial sarcoma; angiosarcoma; and desmoids fibromatosis.

Other sarcomas such as osteosarcoma, Ewings sarcoma, and Giant Cell Tumour of bone can also arise in bone.

Treatment information

Modern treatment of bone and soft tissue tumours consists of radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery in different combinations. Click here to find further information about treatments.

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About Peter Mac’s Bone and Soft Tissue Service

Peter Mac’s Bone and Soft Tissue Service is the largest bone and soft tissue sarcoma group of its kind in Australia, and treats adolescents and adults.

Adolescent patients are supported by ONTrac at Peter Mac; a Victorian service dedicated to adolescent and young adult cancer patients.

Patients will receive care from expert surgery oncologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists in association with specialist bone and soft tissue nurse coordinators, psychologists, dietitians, physiotherapists, social workers and pain and palliative care professionals.

Your case will be discussed at a multi-disciplinary team meeting, ensuring you receive the best care and treatment plan.

As a tertiary training institution, education is a primary focus for Peter Mac. During your time at Peter Mac, you will meet health professionals training at varies stages of education. Your care will always be delivered under the direct supervision of senior specialist staff.

The cause of primary bone or soft tissue cancers is unclear, and Peter Mac’s Sarcoma Service has an active basic, translational and clinical research programme and is a leading site for the Australian Sarcoma Study Group. Click here to find out more about this research.

Clinic times

Bone and Soft Tissue Service clinics run at East Melbourne each Wednesday morning.

Clinical trials

Peter Mac supports and recommends all patients consider participation in appropriate, ethically approved clinical trials.

Referral information

Your general practitioner or specialist will organise relevant referrals for you to Peter Mac’s Bone and Soft Tissue Service.

For further information about referrals, click here or to download a copy of the Bone and Soft Tissue Service referral guidelines, click here.

Contact information

For all Bone and Soft Tissue Service enquiries, contact:

Fiona Hammond
Nurse Coordinator, Bone and Soft Tissue Service
Phone: 03 9656 1111
Email: fiona.hammond@petermac.org

The Chair of the Bone and Soft Tissue Service at Peter Mac is Professor Peter Choong.

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