The Sarcoma Unit at The Royal Marsden is one of the largest soft-tissue sarcoma units in Europe. It is recognised worldwide for its strength in diagnosing and treating soft-tissue sarcomas. Between 2004 and 2008, the Sarcoma Unit saw approximately 4,000 new patients with confirmed or suspected soft-tissue sarcomas.
We have extensive experience in the management soft-tissue sarcomas affecting any part of the body, and have a special interest in the management of retroperitoneal sarcomas. The Sarcoma Unit is the national centre with the greatest amount of experience in managing this challenging problem; it has published and presented nationally and internationally its research into the surgical and oncological management of retroperitoneal sarcomas.
Sarcomas are rare, representing only about 1% of all cancer cases. Soft-tissue sarcomas arise in tissues such as fat, muscles, nerves, tendons, and blood and lymph vessels.
There are approximately more than 50 different tumour subtypes of soft-tissue sarcomas, each with a different behaviour, management and outcome. Patients are best treated in a specialist hospital by a team of experts with a dedicated interest and vast experience in the management of all types of soft-tissue sarcomas.
High-quality patient care
We offer high-quality healthcare to patients both as outpatients and inpatients. We provide a comprehensive service, from assessment and diagnosis to treatment, rehabilitation and follow-up. This is done with a maximum of efficiency while treating every patient with the sensitivity, compassion and discretion they deserve.
Specialist sarcoma team
The Sarcoma Unit is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of specialist doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, all with a dedicated interest and international experience in managing this rare condition.
Limb soft tissue sarcomas
Sarcomas are unusual in that they can occur in any site of the human body, although about 50 percent occur in the limbs. Surgery remains the primary treatment for most soft tissue sarcomas. It is very specialised treatment taking into account factors such as an accurate diagnosis and staging, tumour subtype and grade, treatment side-effects and limb-function preservation. The majority of limb sarcomas when greater than five centimetres in size or high grade are managed by a combination of surgery and radiation therapy. Radiation therapy may be used before or after surgery. The Royal Marsden is on of the large dedicated sarcoma units in the country treating limb soft tissue sarcomas.
The Royal Marsden is one of the largest centres in Europe managing retroperitoneal tumours, including retroperitoneal sarcomas. Patients from across the United Kingdom are referred to our Chelsea hospital for the treatment of this challenging condition.
Retroperitoneal sarcomas are rare tumours, accounting for approximately 10% to 15% of all soft-tissue tumours. Retroperitoneal sarcomas constitute a therapeutic challenge because of their relative late presentation and anatomical location, often in close relationship with multiple vital structures in the anatomically complex retroperitoneal space.
The Sarcoma Unit at The Royal Marsden has extensive experience in the surgical and oncological treatment of primary and recurrent retroperitoneal sarcomas and has recently published their results. See Improving the outcome of retroperitoneal sarcomas (PDF) by Mr Dirk Strauss. This series of publications accounts for the third largest in the world on the management of primary retroperitoneal sarcomas.
Isolated limb perfusion
Isolated limb perfusion (ILP) is a specialised technique for the treatment of irresectable extremity limb malignancy, and is mainly used in the treatment of irresectable melanoma or sarcoma affecting a limb.
Isolated limb perfusion is a technique that can be used to deliver a high dose of anti-cancer drugs (melphalan and TNF-alpha) directly to a limb. This procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic.
The Royal Marsden’s Sarcoma Unit and Melanoma Unit have extensive experience in using this technique to treat advanced melanoma and sarcoma of the limb if the extent or anatomical position of the disease precludes treatment by surgical resection.
See Should isolated limb perfusion be an integral part of every sarcoma MDT? (PDF) by Mr Andrew Hayes.