Daily Dose – Sarcoma Patient Benefits From Integrative Limb-Sparing Treatment

Priscilla Windsor was swimming with her two sons on a hot summer day in 2019 when she felt pain with every stroke of her right arm. Then Priscilla, 47, started struggling with basic chores around the house, like lifting a jug of milk from the fridge or grabbing laundry detergent from the shelf. She was referred to sports medicine specialist Eric Warren, MD, of the Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute. Dr Warren thought Priscilla was suffering from a condition called “frozen shoulder”, which is common among women in their 40s. But six weeks of physical therapy didn’t relieve the pain, so Dr. Warren sent Priscilla for an MRI, which showed she had a growth on her shoulder blade or shoulder blade.

Priscilla was then referred to Joshua Patt, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute and vice president of education at Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute, who ordered a biopsy of the mass. The diagnosis was discouraging: it was a malignant tumor of 10 centimeters. Dr. Patt knew he had to remove the tumor so he could determine the best treatment for Priscilla. “It wasn’t clear whether it was a soft tissue tumor invading the bone or a bone tumor extending into the soft tissue,” says Dr. Patt, who specializes in sarcomas. rare and complex. Patients with soft tissue sarcomas usually receive radiation therapy, but not always chemotherapy, while those with bone sarcomas often require chemotherapy, but not radiation therapy, he explains. Determining the tissue of origin was therefore essential to provide the best treatment strategy for Priscilla.

Patients who were diagnosed with shoulder sarcoma 30 years ago typically had to undergo a total arm amputation “from the chest wall to the fingertips,” Dr. Patt says. But thanks to cutting-edge techniques developed in recent years, Dr. Patt’s team was able to remove 90% of Priscilla’s shoulder blade and preserve her arm in a procedure known as a scapulectomy.

“We were able to salvage some of his deltoid muscle and the tissue that attaches it to the shoulder,” says Dr. Patt. “We then reconstructed his biceps tendon, attaching it to his collarbone, to give him some elbow flexion and shoulder stabilization.”

The operation, which took place in December 2019, lasted about six hours, he said.

Benefit from integrated care

After Dr. Patt removed Priscilla’s tumor, he confirmed it was a bone sarcoma. He assembled a team of doctors from Atrium Health, who worked together to develop an integrated treatment plan. Priscilla received six courses of the combination cisplatin plus adriamycin chemotherapy under the direction of Michael Livingston, MD at LCI. She also underwent occupational therapy and physical therapy to maximize the use of her arm and shoulder. During her treatment, LCI gave her access to qualified providers to help her with everything from pain management to the financial aspects of her care. And physiotherapist Joanna Langford continues to work with Priscilla to help manage some persistent neuropathies and balance issues.

“It shows how patients can truly benefit from the integrated and comprehensive services of our cancer center,” says Dr. Patt.

Today, Priscilla is cancer free, and although she does not have full range of motion in her right arm, she has regained enough function to be able to perform basic tasks around the house and return to the swimming pool. “The water helps me hold my right shoulder, then I can move my arms to swim. I like to swim for exercise. Being in the water is when I feel most whole,” says Priscilla, married with a 19-year-old daughter and 17- and 13-year-old sons.

Priscilla still has shoulder pain, but she’s got it under control with massage therapy and acupuncture, she says. And she credits psychologist Sarah Galloway, Ph.D., of the Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute’s Supportive Oncology Clinic, for helping her through the tough times, including a three-month period when her Oncologists were monitoring a suspicious spot that showed up in a follow-up exam but turned out to be benign. “Getting through the anxiety of those three months gave me peace just to be able to talk about it,” Priscilla says.

The expertise needed to perform complex sarcoma surgery is hard to come by, so patients come from all over the Southeast to take advantage of the expertise of Dr. Patt and his colleagues. LCI saw nearly 600 new patients for bone and soft tissue tumors last year, up from 342 in 2018, according to Dr. Patt.

Patients helping patients

Cancer patients at the Levine Cancer Institute (LCI) also benefit from a longstanding partnership with the Paula Takacs Foundation for Sarcoma Research, which was founded in 2010 with a mission to fund research at LCI and Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital. The foundation’s financial support enables LCI researchers to make important discoveries that will better detect and treat sarcomas in both adults and children.

Additionally, the foundation – which maintains a large and extensive network of families affected by sarcoma diagnoses – has witnessed the growth of the bonds of friendship and support that have formed between families, patients, survivors and caregivers. This community offered strength and hope to people following rigorous treatment protocols, carried them through their grief and celebrated their survival. It all comes together at the Paula Takacs Foundation’s annual Sarcoma Stomp Walk/Run, held on Saturday, April 23, 2022, where more than 50 honorary teams will happily “stomp” alongside LCI and Levine care teams. Children’s.

“I think that’s a good example of how important a patient can be,” says Dr. Patt. “The Paula Takacs Foundation is really helping us create a sense of community around sarcoma in the Charlotte area and creating this incredible sense of support for patients that goes beyond what we can do surgically or medically.”

Now Priscilla joins this volunteer army. She recently signed up as a consultant to a mechanic who needed complex surgery similar to the one she had. Priscilla comforted the patient, who was afraid of losing his ability to work. “I had a speakerphone with him and his wife and I was like, ‘Hey, you can do it. It won’t be easy, but you have so much to live for,” Priscilla recalls. She also shared videos of her physiotherapy sessions with the patient, who finally decided to go ahead with the operation in mid-April.

As for Priscilla, she has follow-up exams every three months, and they continue to show no evidence of her cancer, a testament to the quality of integrated care she received at LCI, she says. “I am so grateful. I received the gift of time.

Learn more about the Paula Takacs Foundation and join the organization’s “Sarcoma Stomp” on April 23.

Source link

About Chris Y. Camp

Check Also

George Michael paid for stranger’s ‘miracle’ IVF treatment

George Michael paid for the IVF treatment of a stranger, we learned. The music icon …