Childhood Sarcoma

Childhood Sarcoma Treatment

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Our multidisciplinary team has extensive experience treating childhood sarcoma and is skilled at coordinating care for young patients who need high-level attention from multiple subspecialists.

We customize our treatment plans to fit each patient’s unique circumstances. Our treatment approach depends on a variety of factors, such as the age of the patient and how far the cancer has spread.

Surgery for Childhood Sarcoma

The first treatment for sarcoma is often surgery to remove tumors completely, especially with early-stage sarcomas. Depending on the stage of cancer, some patients might have other types of cancer treatment after surgery.

Generally, we try to perform surgery in a way that removes as much of the tumor without significantly limiting form or function in a child. For example, limb-sparing surgery aims to remove the tumor without damaging the bone, tissue, muscles, and tendons around it. The affected section of bone is often replaced with a piece of bone from elsewhere in the child’s body, a procedure known as a bone graft. In other cases, a metal or plastic prosthesis may be inserted. As the child grows, the device can often be expanded through minor surgeries or replaced with a larger one.

Reconstructive Surgery

In situations where tumor removal results in some disfigurement, reconstructive plastic surgery can often be performed at the time of tumor removal to help restore the child’s natural appearance and functioning. Bone or tissue may be taken from a different part of the body and used to fill the space left when the tumor was removed.

Medical Treatment for Childhood Sarcoma

Medicines are often used before or after surgery to help control the sarcoma. Some medicines are often referred to as chemotherapy, which are traditionally very powerful medications that circulate in the blood stream and attack the cancerous sarcoma cells.

Newer types of medications are more “precise,” which means they can attack the sarcoma cells without having as many side-effects as traditional chemotherapy. When we evaluate a child with sarcoma, the tumor specimen is tested to determine the best forms of medication for that child’s tumor.

Radiation Therapy for Childhood Sarcoma

In some cases, we will recommend radiation therapy before limb-sparing surgery. Our radiation oncologists use high doses of radiation to safely destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can also be used after surgery, if needed.


This treatment triggers the body’s own immune system to fight cancerous cells. Although it is not as common as other treatments, it may be effective for some forms of childhood sarcoma.

Supportive Care for Childhood Sarcoma

UT Southwestern offers a variety of support services to help our patients and their families during treatment and beyond, including:

Learn about all of the cancer support services available at Simmons Cancer Center.