Soft Tissue Sarcoma: Newly Diagnosed
Being told you have a soft tissue sarcoma can be scary, and you may have many questions. But you have people on your healthcare team to help.
Coping with fear
It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about your cancer and about the treatment options you have can make you feel less afraid. This also helps you work with your healthcare team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor.
Working with your healthcare team
You will likely have different types of doctors on your healthcare team. These might include:
Surgical oncologist (oncologic surgeon). This is a doctor who treats cancer with surgery.
Orthopedic surgeon. This is a surgeon who treats diseases of the bones, muscles, and joints (for sarcomas of the arms and legs).
Thoracic surgeon. This is a doctor who treats diseases of the chest with surgery (for sarcomas in the chest).
Medical oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy.
Radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation.
Many other healthcare providers will be part of your team as well. These might include other types of doctors, as well as physician assistants (PAs), and nurse practitioners (NPs). You may also have oncology nurses, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, and other providers.
Members of your team will answer any questions you may have. They’ll help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions and help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.
Learning about treatment options
To decide the best course of treatment for you, your healthcare team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer. This may involve getting some tests and working with more than one provider. And you may decide that you want to get a second opinion to help you choose a treatment.
Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also join support groups to talk with other people coping with soft tissue sarcomas. Ask your healthcare team about local or online support groups.
March 21, 2017
Alteri, Rick, MD,Levin, Mark, MD