Managing sarcoma from a medical oncologist perspective (#40)
Sarcomas are rare, heterogeneous cancers that disproportionately affect a young population. There are approximately 1,000 new cases diagnosed in Australia every year, of which about 10% occur in children. The rarity, heterogeneity and complexity of sarcoma management make this disease one of the leading causes of cancer death under the age of 30 years. Medical management is multidisciplinary, involving experienced pathologist, radiologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and palliative care. In addition to the medical team, supportive care with specific expertise in adolescent & young adult cancers, as well as rehabilitation following surgery, are critical to optimal management of patients. Medical oncologists play key roles in the curative treatment of bone sarcomas, and in a subset of soft-tissue sarcomas. More often, they manage patients with advanced and incurable soft-tissue sarcomas. The advent of molecularly targeted therapy has changed the outcomes for some subtypes of sarcoma, which depends on accurate molecular diagnosis. Finally, the future holds promise for new treatments that may have broader application across multiple sarcoma subtypes.