We know how stressful a diagnosis of cancer can be, both for your child and for your whole family. That's why our physicians are focused on family-centered care: From your first visit, you'll work with a team of professionals who are committed to supporting all of your family's physical and psychosocial needs. We'll work with you to create a care plan that's best for your child.
Treatment options will vary greatly, depending on your child's situation. Your child's doctor and other members of your care team will discuss the options with you in-depth.
Traditional treatments for synovial sarcoma
Prompt medical attention and aggressive therapy are important. Treatments for synovial sarcoma may involve a combination of therapies including surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. The most common procedures include:
Depending on the size and location of the tumor, your child may either need:
Limb-salvage surgery helps preserve the limb by removing the tumor and wide margins of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.
Amputation may be necessary if the tumor cannot be removed (for example, if it involves the nerves and blood vessels).
Our doctors use precisely targeted and dosed radiation to kill cancer cells left behind after your child's surgery. Radiation can also be given before surgery in order to shrink the tumor.
Chemotherapy is a drug that interferes with the cancer cell's ability to grow or reproduce.
Different groups of chemotherapy drugs work in different ways to fight cancer cells and shrink tumors.
Often, a combination of chemotherapy drugs is used.
Certain chemotherapy drugs may be given in a specific order depending on the type of cancer it is being used to treat.
While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating certain cancers, the agents don't differentiate normal healthy cells from cancer cells. Because of this, there can be many adverse side effects during treatment. Being able to anticipate these side effects can help the care team, parents, and child prepare, and, in some cases, prevent these symptoms from occurring, if possible.
Chemotherapy is systemic treatment, meaning it is introduced to the bloodstream and travels throughout the body to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given:
- as a pill to swallow
- as an injection into the muscle or fat tissue
- intravenously (IV), directly to the bloodstream
- intrathecally, directly into the spinal column with a needle
The term “supportive care” refers to any type of treatment to prevent and treat infections, side effects of treatments and complications, and to keep your child comfortable during treatment. It is an important part of our care for all children receiving cancer treatment.
Will my child be OK?
The outlook for children with synovial sarcoma depends on several factors including:
- the size and location of the tumor
- whether it can be removed surgically
- whether the tumor has spread
- your child's response to treatment
In general, small tumors and those that can be removed surgically are much easier to treat. Larger tumors, tumors that cannot be removed surgically and those that have spread to other parts of the body are more difficult to cure. Outcomes can vary significantly depending on these factors.
What is the recommended long-term care for children treated for synovial sarcoma?
Children treated for synovial sarcoma should visit a survivorship clinic every year to:
- manage disease complications
- screen for early recurrence of cancer
- manage late effects of treatment
?A typical follow-up visit may include some or all of the following:
- a physical exam
- laboratory testing
- imaging scans
Through the David B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, childhood cancer survivors receive a comprehensive follow-up evaluation from their cancer care team.
Our childhood cancer survivorship clinic is held weekly.
In addition to meeting with your pediatric oncologists, your child may see one of our endocrinologists, cardiologists, neurologists, neuro-psychologists or alternative/complementary therapy specialists.
We also offer the following services:
- patient and family education
- psychosocial assessment
- genetic counseling
- reproductive and fertility evaluation and counseling
- opportunities to speak with other childhood cancer survivors
Coping and support
In addition to providing medical care, we strive to also meet all of your family's emotional and quality-of-life needs. We know that unfamiliar places, especially hospitals, often create anxiety and fear for a child. We also know this isn't an easy time or task for parents, who have their own fears and concerns about the situation. Our family support services will help address many of your needs and concerns. Read about our resources and support services.