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Sarcoma is the collective name of malignant neoplasms that develop in soft and hard connective tissues. Such tumors often spread outside the heart, damaging nearby tissues. Metastases appear early, and repeated occurrence of foci is possible even after a surgical operation.
The best results in the treatment of sarcoma were achieved by the German clinics. Here the best protocols are developed and the most modern methods of therapy are applied. The 5-year survival rate of patients with malignant neoplasms in Germany is one of the highest among all European countries.
Types of Sarcoma
There are two main types of sarcoma – sarcoma of the soft tissues and sarcoma of the hard tissues.
Sarcoma of the soft tissues develops from the muscles, vessels, and fat and fibroses tissues. Many varieties of sarcoma are described in terms of histological structure. They have different clinical course and varying degrees of malignancy.
The most common types of soft tissue sarcoma are:
- Angiosarcoma is a type of sarcoma that affects the skin, mammary glands and lymphatic vessels of the limbs. It arises because of radiation exposure, due to injuries, and also as a consequence of some immune diseases. Treatment depends on the localization, but the forecast is generally unfavorable. For example, the treatment of breast sarcoma is a mastectomy - a complete removal of the breast.
- Rhabdomyosarcoma develops from the striated muscles. Most often, rhabdomyosarcoma appears in children (except for pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma - it appears in adulthood). The causes of the occurrence are not fully understood. However, it has been established that provoking factors can be radiation exposure, contact with carcinogens and genetic abnormalities.
- Lymphosarcoma affects the lymphatic system, most often occurring in the nasopharynx, lymph nodes, as well as in the chest and abdomen. The disease mostly affects children and people of a mature age. The method of treatment is usually surgical. Thus, the treatment of salivary gland sarcoma is most often radical, since this rare formation is characterized by rapid growth and metastasizes to the lymph nodes. But the treatment of lung sarcoma usually consists of radiation therapy, since a tumor is detected in the late stages. In such cases, surgery does not make sense.
- Synovial sarcoma is a fairly rare tumor that develops from the synovial membrane of the joints. Most often it affects the limbs. The disease can be caused by dysplasia, joint trauma, and carcinogenic factors. With timely treatment of synovial sarcoma, survival rate can reach 40%.
- Kaposi's sarcoma is a rare lesion on the skin that appears as spots or nodules. The disease progression is rather slow, adult males are more exposed to it. The relationship of Kaposi's sarcoma with the herpes virus and HIV infection has been proven. Also, an increased risk is characteristic of patients who have been recipients of donor organs. Treatment of Kaposi's sarcoma can be both systemic and local (ointments, cryotherapy, electrocoagulation).
Survival rate after sarcoma of the soft tissues treatment in Germany can reach 80%.
Sarcoma of the hard tissues:
- Ewing's sarcoma often affects children between the ages of 10-15 years old. The main localization is the pelvis and the lower extremities. The tumor develops mainly from long tubular bones. Rapidly growing and early metastasizing. If the tumor has metastasized into the bone marrow, Ewing's sarcoma treatment may include its transplantation.
- Osteosarcoma or osteogenic sarcoma - malignant formation on the bone. In most cases, osteogenic sarcoma affects the tubular bones. Mostly children and adolescents are affected by this disease, and less often elderly people. Among other age categories, osteosarcoma is extremely rare. Osteogenic sarcoma involves treatment with surgical surgery with endoprosthetics.
- Chondrosarcoma is a cancer of the cartilaginous tissue that most often occurs in the pelvis, shoulders, thigh, and ribs. Sometimes - in the spine or in the extremities. The prognosis of life for patients with chondrosarcoma depends on the structure and localization of education
Methods of Sarcoma Treatment
Most of sarcomas are neoplasms with a high level of malignancy. They rapidly increase the tumor mass and give metastases including distant metastases. Sarcomas most often metastasize into the bone marrow, lungs, and central nervous system.
To effectively fight the rapidly growing neoplasm different combinations of several methods for sarcoma treatment are applied in Germany:
- Radiation therapy
- Immune therapy
Radiation and chemotherapy can be conducted in different periods, depending on the type of the disease and chosen treatment scheme. Sometimes these methods are prescribed before the surgery, other patients receive radiation and medications after the surgical intervention.
Surgical Treatment of Sarcoma in Germany
Surgery is the basis of treating most of the malignant neoplasms. The surgery in Germany has a number of benefits for patients suffering from sarcoma. Organ saving surgeries are among those, as well as robotic-assisted devices and neuronavigational systems, reaching cosmetic effect, recovering measures.
Let’s talk about surgical technologies for sarcoma treatment in Germany in detail.
Organ saving operations. Often sarcoma develops on the limbs. It especially concerns the formation of bone tissue. In such cases, the treatment of bone sarcoma often involves amputation. Nevertheless, in German hospitals doctors try to save the limb, if possible. Only 20% of cases of osteogenic sarcoma require the amputation of the arm or leg. The remaining 80% of patients perform organ-saving operations. After removing the bone, it is possible to establish an implant in its place.
And even in case of amputation, German hospitals provide the patient with an individually designed prosthesis. At the same time, the patient and his family undergo psychological therapy, designed to restore the emotional wellbeing after the operation. In addition, after amputation, the patient undergoes rehabilitation - he learns to live with a prosthesis, learns the skills necessary in everyday life. The work of physiotherapists with such patients is primarily aimed at gaining the ability of patients to self-service.
Operational safety and minimum recovery time. The use of robotic devices, methods of high-precision visualization and modern anaesthetic agents minimize all risks associated with intervention. Therefore, in Germany, compared with most other countries,there is a significantly lower intra-operative mortality and the risk of postoperative complications. After low-traumatic techniques, patients recover many times faster.
Doctors attach great importance to the aesthetic effect, especially if the tumor is localized in open areas of the skin. Treatment of sarcoma of the skin or breast is carried out with subsequent reconstruction.
Radiation Therapy for sarcoma in Germany
In all countries of the world, radiation therapy is used to treat malignant neoplasms. But it has different effectiveness. Qualitative therapy requires expensive equipment and the availability of doctors in the clinic staff who have necessary skills to use the equipment.
The following radiotherapy methods in sarcoma are used in medical centers in Germany:
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy. Compared with conventional radiation therapy, the rays more accurately focus on the tumor and less affect healthy surrounding tissues.
- Proton therapy. The method of treatment, comparable in effectiveness with intensity-modulated radiation therapy, but with a higher safety profile and better tolerability. Proton therapy allows you to more accurately affect the tumor and less damage to surrounding tissue. But this type of treatment is rarely used even in developed countries because of the high cost. In Germany, proton therapy is available only in some clinics.
- Intraoperative radiotherapy. It is carried out before the closure of the operating wound. The advantage of this type of treatment is that gamma rays do not pass through healthy tissues. This makes it possible to apply high doses of radiation, which greatly increases the effectiveness of the procedure.
- Brachytherapy is another name for internal radiation therapy. The pellets are placed with granules of radioactive substance. With sarcoma they are injected through thin tubes that are left after the operation. Different doses of radiation are used to treat different types of malignant tumors. Some granules with a radioactive substance enter into the focus of the oncological process only for a few minutes, others - for several days.
Sarcoma Chemotherapy in Germany
In German clinics, sarcoma chemotherapy is performed in conjunction with other methods within the framework of an individually developed treatment regimen. This approach is not available during treatment in CIS clinics, as domestic hospitals use the old treatment regimens.
Among the benefits of chemotherapy for sarcoma in Germany are:
- The latest medicines are used that have the highest clinical efficacy
- Germany has developed and implemented gentle chemotherapy drugs that have minimal impact on the general condition of the patient
- Protective agents are used to minimize the detrimental effects of chemo on the hair and nails of the patient
In Germany, with some types of sarcomas, the method of isolated perfusion is used. In the limb, where the tumor is located, the blood flow is artificially enhanced and the temperature of the blood increases. This allows you to concentrate more of the active substance at the site of tumor localization. Also in clinics in Germany, the method of chemoembolization of soft tissue sarcoma is used. With the help of visualization methods, the doctor injects into the artery while feeding the tumor a drug for the treatment of sarcoma. This enables the doctor to act on the tumor sight, without affecting healthy tissue.
Alternative methods of sarcoma treatment
Despite all the efforts made by scientists in the search for methods of treatment of malignant tumors, alternative non-traditional treatment of sarcoma remains popular. For example, many patients consider it possible to treat sarcoma with soda. It should be understood that no folk remedies will help in the treatment of soft and hard tissue sarcomas.
Any non-traditional methods of treating sarcomas should be discussed with the attending physician. Sometimes a doctor will allow a patient to use any methods of traditional medicine, if they do not harm the health, and the patient's gains some emotional solace. However, most of these methods will only harm the patient. Treatment of sarcoma should be handled by a qualified oncologist, not a shaman (herbalist).
Treatment of sarcoma at the advanced stages
In Germany, schemes for treating sarcoma at its late stages are applied. Even if there are distant metastases, the quality of therapy can bring success. Total radiation, large doses of chemotherapy with the subsequent injection of stem cells is aimed at reaching the seven-year-survival in 50% of cases. Patients with the metastatic sarcoma have no more than 10% of five-year survival without such treatment.
Where to treat sarcoma?
Best German hospitals for sarcoma treatment are:
- Hospital St. Elisabeth Grevenbroich specializes in various types of operations including surgical treatment for sarcoma. This is a prestigious clinic with more than a hundred-year history.
- Alfried Krupp Hospital in Essen-Ruettenscheid specializes in the treatment of oncological diseases. Different methods of radiotherapy are practiced here. This is a large clinic, where more than 25,000 people are treated permanently.
- Goethe University Hospital Frankfurt. All kinds of sarcoma treatment are used at the University Cancer Center. Here they have is a branch for radiation therapy, where the most advanced technologies of this area of medicine are used.
Booking Health Service
You can use the online-platform for Booking Health for a comfortable search of a suitable hospital. Medical institution can be chosen independently or you can make an application on our website. Our service managers will get back to you and help you to make a decision that works exactly for you.
Besides, we also take care of arranging your trip to Germany which includes:
- Communication with the clinic and prompt receipt of the invitation for the visa
- Solution of all organizational issues (translator, air tickets, hotel, visa)
- Health insurance that covers all contingencies (up to € 200,000)
- Translation of medical documents
- Full support and advice on any issues
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova