IU Health is home to one of the region’s largest and most comprehensive Orthopedic Oncology programs for children and adults with bone and soft tissue tumors. The Orthopedic Oncology experts at IU Health work in close consultation to deliver innovative treatments, customized to your individual needs and circumstances. Additionally, our unique partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine, one of the nation’s leading medical schools, gives you access to innovative treatments and therapies. People of all ages turn to our nationally-recognized team for their experience and effectiveness in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal cancer.
The Orthopedic Oncology team at IU Health specializes in the treatment of benign and malignant tumors of the extremities. These tumors may involve the bone or soft tissue. Cancerous tumors of the limbs including the pelvis and shoulder deserve a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Our approach is based upon several goals, which include making an accurate diagnosis, providing multidisciplinary care, alleviating pain and maintaining limb function. Our diagnostic team includes highly skilled physicians with exceptional skills in radiology assessment and pathology consultation. Making a timely and accurate diagnosis is imperative to our team so that appropriate treatment is convenient for patients and can be initiated without delay.
The multidisciplinary treatment team of physicians includes highly specialized experts in medical oncology and radiation therapy who work closely with our Orthopedic Oncology surgeons to achieve the very best functional and survival outcomes for patients. We routinely treat patients with metastatic cancer to bone from breast, lung, prostate, and kidney to lessen the pain of these conditions and strengthen affected bones through advanced surgical techniques. The vast majority of patients with primary bone or soft tissue cancers are treated with contemporary limb sparing reconstruction rather than older amputation treatments. Additionally, our orthopedic surgical team has a vast experience treating patients with complex joint reconstruction problems that often occur with severe bone loss or infection.
IU Health will help you navigate all phases of diagnosis and treatment with a team that will be available to you every step of the way.
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For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 317.944.9400.
To schedule an appointment with an Orthopedic Oncology specialist at IU Health, please call 317.944.9400. For more information and to have an Orthopedic Oncology team member contact you, please complete the form below.
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The Orthopedic Oncology team at IU Health includes primary orthopedic surgical oncologists Dr. Daniel Wurtz and Dr. Todd Bertrand. These physicians practice at IU Health Simon Cancer Center, a premier comprehensive cancer treatment center, and at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, where children of all ages also receive comprehensive cancer treatment. As the senior surgeon, Dr. Wurtz has over 20 years of experience in orthopedic oncology and treating patients with bone and soft tissue tumors. Dr. Bertrand joined IU Health in 2014 and has added immensely to the growth of our service to treat an increasing volume of patients with complex musculoskeletal oncology conditions. Dr. Walter Virkus brings an additional diverse experience to the service as a fellowship-trained orthopedic oncologist and an orthopedic traumatologist serving a primary role as the Director of Orthopedic Trauma at IU Health Methodist Hospital.
Certain things such as radiation exposure, chemical exposure, and certain family illness history can increase your risk for soft tissue sarcomas.
There are many bone cancers that require clinical care by a physician. These include sarcomas, and multiple myeloma.
Unlike historical treatments involving amputations, contemporary limb sparing reconstruction approaches are more prevalent than ever.
While most bone cancer results from a spread to the bone from other organ cancers (e.g. lung, breast, prostate or kidney), some cancers may originate in the bone and are referred to as primary bone cancer. The four most common types of primary bone cancer are:
Multiple myeloma is the most common primary bone cancer. It is a malignant tumor that originates in the plasma in bone marrow and it can affect any bone. Multiple myeloma accounts for 1% of all cancers and occurs in about 1 in 22,000 people per year in the United States. The most common treatment includes cancer-fighting drugs administered through the bloodstream. Chemotherapy and stem cell treatments also are effective with some types of multiple myeloma. Radiation is sometimes used to allow the bone lesions to heal. Surgery is often needed to stabilize a bone before or after a fracture has occurred due to this cancer.
Osteosarcoma is a type of tumor that grows in osteoblasts (cells that form new bone tissue), usually on the ends of the long bones of the leg. Other common locations include the hip and shoulder. About 800 new cases of osteosarcoma are reported every year in the United States. Osteosarcoma is often treated with a combination of therapies that can include surgery to remove tumors, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Patients with osteosarcoma require a multidisciplinary approach for best treatment.
Ewing’s sarcoma is a type of malignant cancer that most commonly occurs in children. These tumors are often found in the upper and lower leg, pelvis, upper arm and ribs. This malignant bone tumor also requires multiple treatment modalities, including surgery and chemotherapy. Occasionally, radiation is needed.
Chondrosarcoma is a cancer occurring in cartilage anywhere in the body, most often in the hip, pelvis or arm. Most people who develop chondrosarcoma are over the age of 20. Surgical removal is the typical treatment for this rare bone tumor.
Soft tissue tumors of the limbs may be benign or malignant. They require a careful evaluation by experienced physicians to establish an accurate diagnosis. Benign tumors may or may not need further treatment. Malignant soft tissue tumors of the limbs are often sarcomas. There are multiple types of soft tissue sarcomas. Some are slow-growing, while others are aggressive and grow quickly and may spread (or metastasize) to other areas of the body such as the lung. Almost all soft tissue sarcomas need surgical removal and often require additional treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy.
Benign tumors do not spread to other tissues and organs, and they not usually life threatening. They are generally cured by surgery. Types of benign bone tumors include: