Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma in Children

  • The diagnosis of a rare cancer, like alveolar soft part sarcoma, is especially distressing for parents. Not only does this soft tissue tumor require your child to get intensive treatment, it may also be difficult to find accurate information on it. The experts at the Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center are here to help. 

    An important first step in understanding what lies ahead is familiarizing yourself with the basics about alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS): 

    • ASPS is a very rare cancer in children.
    • It may take a long time before you notice any symptoms in your child.
    • It starts in soft connective tissues of the body, such as fat, muscles or nerves.
    • ASPS is a slow-growing tumor and usually starts in the legs or arms, although it can also start growing in the head and neck.
    • The tumor can spread to other parts of the body and can come back many years later.
    • The cause of ASPS is unknown, but may be connected to genes.
    • ASPS is a serious condition requiring surgical removal of the tumor and, in some cases, chemotherapy and radiation. Once the tumor is removed, children need to ongoing follow-up care because the tumor can return. 

    The detailed information on the following pages will help you gain a better understanding of ASPS and a clearer picture of what to expect.

    How Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center approaches alveolar soft part sarcoma

    Here at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, we offer the ideal setting, utilizing world-recognized cancer expertise at Dana-Farber and internationally renowned pediatric expertise at Children’s Hospital Boston within the research and educational setting of Harvard Medical School. We are a top cancer center and top children’s hospital. 

    Children with ASPS are treated through Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program. Kids who need surgery are also treated through Children’s Orthopedic Center

    Our multidisciplinary approach to care ensures in-depth discussion of each case and personalized treatment plans for every child. We integrate expertise from the following specialists: 

    • pediatric oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists
    • pediatric experts from every medical subspecialty, such as orthopedics, pathology, physical therapy and radiology
    • highly skilled and experienced pediatric oncology nurses
    • Child Life specialists, psychologists, social workers and resource specialists who provide supportive care before, during and after treatment 

    At Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, we’re conducting research studies that will help clinicians better understand and treat children with soft tissue sarcomas. 

    Alveolar soft part sarcoma: Reviewed by Megan Anderson, MD, orthopedic surgeon
    © Boston Children’s Hospital , 2011

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