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Sarcoma and Soft Tissue tumours

Sarcoma and Soft Tissue tumours

Lumps under the skin are common in our community. Many of these are skin cysts (epidermoid cysts and sebaceous cysts) and lipomas (benign fatty growths), and may never cause trouble and may not require intervention. Sometimes these lumps can cause discomfort or affect a person's appearance. A plastic surgeon can remove these with advanced techniques to minimise the subsequent scarring.

Occasionally, lumps develop that are more concerning and may be cancerous. It is important to note that this is quite rare. Because of this, these tumours are often picked up late and can be quite advanced at this stage. Sarcomas of the soft tissues make up only approximately 1% of all cancers. This type of tumour should be suspected if the lump is firm and continues to grow. Doctors are advised that any lump larger than a golf ball in size should be checked to exclude a sarcoma. This is important, as the prognosis (survival) in sarcoma is much better if the disease is picked up earlier.

Dr Woods manages sarcoma cancers in private patients of all ages, and public patients at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (children). He is the chief plastic and reconstructive surgeon on the South Australian Sarcoma team. Dr Woods has also been recently involved in writing the National clinical guidelines for the care of Sarcoma with the Cancer Council of Australia, particularly focusing on Reconstructive surgery.

Surgery is usually the treatment of choice in these conditions. Often sarcoma lumps are large when patients seek treatment and require complex resectional surgery and reconstructive surgery. When this is the case, surgery is best performed in a team environment -Dr Woods works closely with a surgical oncologist and provides expert care in reconstruction after removal of the tumour.

Dr Woods has experience and specialisation in children and adults, so that you know that you are in safe and competent hands to manage this complex condition affecting you or your loved one.