February 29th each leap year is recognized as Rare Disease Day. It is important to acknowledge lesser known diseases, because this understanding can help spread awareness of treatments, support groups and the symptoms that can aid in early detection.

One such rare disease is sarcoma. Sarcomas are cancerous tumors that develop in areas such as muscle, tissue or bone. They account for only 1% of cancers and may be difficult to diagnose.  Soft-tissue sarcomas that originate in the abdomen, for example, may be painless at first, but as they grow, the pressure on the internal organs can cause trouble breathing and other complications.

VCS treats sarcomas through our Musculoskeletal Tumor Surgery Program. In this program, Dr. Felasfa Wodajo takes the lead of the sarcoma care team. Dr. Wodajo is a dedicated musculoskeletal tumor surgery expert with more than ten years of experience specializing in the treatment of sarcomas. Patients will have a multidisciplinary team of experts working alongside Dr. Wodajo including medical oncologists and radiation oncologists to ensure the unique treatment fits the patient’s needs. The program includes a variety of services all designed to treat the different aspects of the disease, including benign tumor surgery, biopsy, chemotherapy, pain management and more.

Support groups are key to a successful recovery for sarcoma patients. These groups provide emotional and educational support to help patients and their families navigate through their journey. Our Nurse Navigators can help direct patients to local support groups and other invaluable resources to assist patients fighting sarcoma. To learn more about  the Sarcoma program at VCS, please visit our Physician Specialties page or sarcoma.md.