So…here is the path. We met with Dr Beth Baldini who is the Director of Sarcoma Radiation Oncology at Brigham & Women’s Hospital & Dana Farber. She laid out all of our options and shared some info from the treatment side we were unaware of before today. One thing is the tumor is not as close to the femur as the MRI would lead the untrained eye (ME) to believe, good thing! It is also on the lateral (outside) of my thigh which is MUCH better than on the inside, good thing #2. It is also deep in the tissue, which I thought was a bad thing, and again I was wrong. Tumors closer to the surface are much more prone to infection and other healing issues than a deep one like mine. Good thing #3.
There are only two paths to follow with a Sarcoma, even a garden variety like mine (if you can call something that has only 11,000 cases diagnosed worldwide) garden variety. What I have is the most common type of Sarcoma. Both paths include surgery and radiation. There are NO other options and if left untreated, it will grow and spread and we all know how that ends.
After a ton a of questions which Dr, Baldini answered in such an expert manner we are going with the radiation preoperative rather than post op. Lots of reasons but mainly there is less radiation needed and for a shorter time period as well. Based on the location of the Sarcoma and the fact that it is localized the chance of it coming back are less than 10% using her methods. That is the most important goal by far!
She will map out exactly where the treatments will be targeted using hi tech software and CT scans along with MRI’s. She works with a physicist to target exactly, the proper area. It takes her a week of planning to get things perfect after my planning session with her next week so I won’t start radiation until May 11th. The radiation will last 5 weeks and it is 5 days a week at Brigham & Women’s. No side effects are expected due to the targeting and low dose other than maybe a little redness on my thigh. The actual radiation per treatment is less than 2 minutes. There will be a small area around the tumor (margin) that will also be targeted so that when the tumor is scooped out, no cancer will be left behind.
All in all, we left there knowing that we are in the best possible place to be treated for this rare cancer. Everytime we interact with the Doctors and nurses they could not be more knowledgeable and professional in their approach. Dr Baldini does nothing but working with Sarcoma. She had 5 patients she saw today with Sarcoma. Most hospitals might not see 5 in a year or 2.
Feeling like we are on the right path….Long way to go but we are looking good!