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Synovial Sarcoma in Children

  • Over time, your child’s joints naturally grow and change. However, throughout this process, problems can sometimes occur. A synovial sarcoma is one such abnormality and is a serious condition that affects the soft tissues of the body. The rare, malignant (cancerous) tumor most often occurs near the knee, but can also occur near other joints, mainly in the arms and legs.

    A diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming and your list of questions may seem endless. An important first step in understanding what lies ahead is familiarizing yourself with the basics about the condition.

    The cause of synovial sarcoma is unknown, but it has been linked to genetics.
    It’s rare, and it most often occurs in adolescents and young adults and affects more boys than girls.
    The tumor can spread to others areas of the body, especially the lymph nodes.
    Synovial sarcoma is a serious condition requiring a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.
    In general, small tumors and those that can be removed surgically are much easier to treat. Larger tumors, tumors that can’t be removed surgically and those that have spread to other parts of the body are more difficult to cure.

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

    How Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center approaches synovial sarcoma?


    The diagnosis of a life-threatening condition, like cancer, affects your entire family. We’re here to help you every step of the way. 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 within the research and educational setting of Harvard Medical School. We are a top cancer center and top children’s hospital. Our team’s comprehensive experience and knowledge is unparalleled and gives young patients the best chance at survival.

    Experts in our Bone & Soft Tissue Tumor Program are devoted to caring for children and teenagers with synovial sarcoma and other bone and soft tissue disorders.

    Our multidisciplinary approach to care ensures in-depth discussion of each case and personalized treatment plans for every patient. 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, among others.
    • 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?
    • We are a world leader in opening new avenues of "translational research," bringing laboratory advances to the bedside and doctor's office as quickly as possible. All of our senior medical staff members of the Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors Program participate in clinical research activities.

    Reviewed by Megan Anderson, MD
    © Boston Children’s Hospital; posted in 2011

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