Musculoskeletal Oncology

Cancer of the bones, muscles, and other soft tissues

By Triston Brewer, Medical Research EditorLast modified: September 14, 2011

Musculoskeletal Oncology

Musculoskeletal Oncology

Musculoskeletal oncology is the evaluation and treatment of patients with non-cancerous as well as cancerous tumors of the bones, muscles, and other soft tissues (fat, nerves, blood vessels) of the spine, pelvis, and limbs. It also concentrates on those afflicted with metastatic bone disease. There are several correlating conditions which include benign bone and soft tissue tumors, malignant bone and soft tissue tumors, and bone disease from cancer that has spread.

Musculoskeletal Oncology and Its Relation to Other Disciplines

Musculoskeletal oncology closely related to other sections of oncology, including hematology, radiation oncology, and pathology, which allows extensive management of all patients with primary bone and soft tissue sarcomas, lymphomas of bone, multiple myeloma, and metastatic carcinomas to bone.

Musculoskeletal Oncology - Advancements & Techniques

The current advancements in medical technology have dramatically improved the prognosis for patients, as new chemotherapeutic drugs are available and as a result of better imaging and surgical techniques. For benign conditions, only serial physical exams or X-rays are necessary.

Medical facilities incorporate an integrated approach to treating patients, including expertise from medical and pediatric oncology, pathology, diagnostic imaging, and rehabilitation following surgery. Treatment includes all age groups, from newborns to senior citizens, bone or soft tissue lesions in the musculoskeletal system, and all types of tumors (benign, malignant, and metastatic). through re-evaluations are conducted every two to three days.

Musculoskeletal Oncology Treatment Options

Typically, patients must undergo surgery to remove tumors and damaged surrounding tissue. Malignant tumors usually require surgical removal. In the past, limbs with tumors could only be treated with amputation, but now limbs can be salvaged with far better outcomes and options. Radiation therapy involves the use of energy beams to eradicate cancer cells. This procedure is typically used after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that may remain. This therapy can also relieve symptoms when a cancer has spread throughout the body. HelicalTomotherapy is merges intensity modulated radiation therapy with precision spiral computed tomography scanning. With this technique, physicians are able to apply the highest dose of radiation possible which reduces exposure of healthy tissues. Brachytherapy involves tiny pellets of radioactive material that is inserted directly into the cancerous tissues, attacking the tumor from the inside out. This direct approach minimizes radiation to healthy tissue. Chemotherapy utilizes a range of drugs and treatment strategies to treat musculoskeletal tumors.

Musculoskeletal Oncology Post-Surgical Treatment  

Following surgery, patients have a wide range of options available to them as they recuperate. Rehabilitation services such as physical therapy, recreation therapy, and speech pathology are sometimes advised. Occupational therapy involves restoring skills, teaching adaptive techniques, and daily living, and work-related activities. Physical therapy focuses on mobility, exercise training for strength, conditioning, and other therapy specific to patients medical history.

Cost of Musculoskeletal Oncology

The costs associated with musculoskeletal oncology vary widely, depending on where in the country you are, the specifics of your medical history, and your insurance policy through your company.

Find a Musculoskeletal Oncology Specialist in your area.

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This article was written by the medical research team at does not intend for any of the information on this site to be regarded as medical advice - it is meant as a starting point for understanding treatment details and options before contacting a registered, licensed doctor. We advise all patients to seek medical advice from a doctor.
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