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Published on July 23, 2013

MU Orthopaedic Surgeon Raises Awareness for Sarcoma

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― Missouri Orthopaedic Institute surgeon Andrea Evenski, M.D., is raising awareness for bone and soft-tissue cancer during July, recognized as Sarcoma Awareness Month.

Evenski, the only orthopaedic oncologist in central Missouri, specializes in treating sarcomas, as well as cancers that have spread from other parts of the body to the bones.

“Sarcomas are a type of cancer that affect the bones and soft tissues of the body, including muscle, nerves, blood vessels, fat cells and cartilage,” Evenski said. “Because they are less common than other types of cancer — such as breast cancer, lung cancer or skin cancer — most people have very little awareness of the disease.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, around 12,000 sarcomas are diagnosed each year among adults in the United States, representing approximately one percent of all cancers. Sarcomas are more common among children, representing approximately 8 to 10 percent of pediatric cancers.

“Like other cancers, treatment of sarcoma is most successful when detected early,” Evenski said. “Some genetic conditions — such as neurofibromatosis, Gardner’s syndrome and Li-Fraumeni syndrome — raise a person’s risk for sarcoma, but many sarcomas occur randomly. Even for people without a genetic syndrome associated with sarcomas, if you find an unexplained bump or lump on a bone, joint or elsewhere on your body, you should have it examined by a doctor.”

For sarcomas, surgery and limb-sparing techniques are the primary methods of treatment, Evenski said. However, depending on the location, size, stage and particular type of tumor, treatment may also include chemotherapy and radiation therapy, she said.

“In treating sarcoma, our first goal is to remove the cancerous tissue from a patient’s body,” Evenski said. “Afterward, we want to help our patients recover and maximize their quality of life through physical rehabilitation and by reconstructing the affected bones with transplanted tissue or artificial bones and joints.”

For more information about orthopaedic oncology and treatment of sarcoma, visit www.muhealth.org/ortho.

Dr. Andrea Evenski