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Musculoskeletal Oncology

If you’ve been diagnosed with a bone tumor, you have some challenges — and likely many questions — ahead of you.

Whether you have bone cancer or a nonmalignant bone tumor, you need compassionate treatment from top specialists.

The musculoskeletal cancer experts at UPMC Orthopaedic Care are with you every step of the way, from diagnosis to follow-up care.

Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors We Treat

At the musculoskeletal oncology program at UPMC Orthopaedic Care, we treat tumors in the bone and surrounding soft tissue.

We treat both primary and secondary bone cancers. Primary bone cancer starts in the bone. Secondary bone cancer, or metastatic bone disease, begins elsewhere in the body and moves to the bone.

Bone tumors aren't common, so it’s important to see doctors who specialize in these rare diseases.

The conditions we treat include:

What Musculoskeletal Cancer Services Do You Offer at UPMC?

Our experts use cutting-edge technology and offer the latest treatments to diagnose and treat bone tumors.

Testing and diagnoses of bone tumors

Your primary care provider may refer you to the musculoskeletal oncology program at UPMC Orthopaedic Care. Our doctors will perform a physical exam and review your symptoms.

They may also order one or more of these advanced imaging tests to diagnose your tumor:

Once our doctors confirm a diagnosis, they'll develop a custom treatment plan for your disease.

Your treatment may depend on what kind of tumor you have, its location, and whether it has spread.

Nonsurgical treatments for primary bone cancer

Doctors may be able to treat your cancer with nonsurgical methods.

Or they may combine these methods with surgery:

  • Chemotherapy — The use of drugs to kill cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy — The use of targeted x-rays or other beams of energy to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.

Surgical treatments for primary bone cancer

Our specialists offer a range of surgical options to treat bone tumors.

The goal of surgery is to remove the tumor and some surrounding tissue to reduce the risk of the cancer spreading. Sometimes, doctors will remove nearby lymph nodes, too.

Treatments for metastatic bone disease

Metastatic bone disease, or secondary bone cancer, is cancer that starts elsewhere in the body and moves to the bones. At that point, cancer is usually advanced.

Your treatment will typically focus on stopping the spread of cancer instead of curing it.

Treatment for metastatic bone disease focuses on preventing fractures and preserving quality of life.

It may include:

  • Bisphosphonate drugs — Drugs that help prevent bone damage from tumors.
  • Chemotherapy — Drugs to kill cancer cells.
  • Endocrine (hormone) therapy — A therapy that involves increasing or blocking hormones in the body to help prevent cancer cells from growing.
  • Radiation — Relieves pain and stops the cancer from growing.
  • Surgery — Prevents or treats broken bones. Surgeons may remove the tumor and shore up the bone with wires, plates, or screws.

Why Choose UPMC for Musculoskeletal Oncology?

The doctors in the musculoskeletal oncology program at UPMC Orthopaedic Care are among the top bone cancer experts in the world. They have access to the latest technology and cutting-edge surgical techniques.

Our specialists take a team approach to your treatment, working with other UPMC experts to provide the best care.

Depending on your disease, these doctors may include:

  • Colorectal surgeons
  • General surgeons
  • Microvascular surgeons
  • Spine surgeons
  • Vascular surgeons

People with bone and soft tissue cancer also have access to other cancer experts, such as:

  • Medical oncologists.
  • Nurses.
  • Nurse practitioners.
  • Physician assistants.
  • Psychologists.
  • Radiation oncologists.
  • Rehabilitation specialists.
  • Social workers.