On this episode of Patient Power, sponsored by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), listeners will learn about team approaches for treating sarcoma in both children and adults. Recognized around the world as a pioneer in the treatment of sarcoma, Dr. Earnest “Chappie” Conrad joins Andrew for a look at what both young and adults patients can expect in the future of treating sarcoma, surgically and non-surgically. Among his many titles, Dr. Conrad is chairman of orthopedics at Seattle Children's Hospital. He's also director of the sarcoma service for the SCCA, and he's co vice chairman of orthopedics at the University of Washington.
Dr. Conrad speaks candidly about limb sparing procedures for children with sarcomas, bone cancers, major challenges in reproducing growth, and how this can be accomplished mechanically, magnetically and even non-surgically. Dr. Conrad also speaks about the cure rate being higher for children under the age of 20 than for adults, with the average survival for a child with a high grade sarcoma at a 75 percent survival rate over the first five years. Hear more about high-grade tumors, risk factors for surgery and how research continues to improve long-term survival for sarcoma patients. Dr. Conrad talks about the importance of a multidisciplinary team and common overlaps between treating children and adults with sarcoma. Often, this team includes an oncologist, surgeon, pathologist, radiation therapist, and other surgical partners. Dr. Conrad discusses how success rates have increased to lower complication rates and how new and improved techniques for making limbs, still growth, and issues surrounding orthopedic care, are all on the research front.
Dr. Conrad sums up the discussion with one of the most important factors of all, clinical trials. In his own words: “Trials are absolutely critical. The children that we treat, about two thirds to three fourths of the children that we treat are on clinical trials, and it's because we all consider, there are smaller number of tumors so it's easier to focus on them. We all want our children to have the best treatment so they're more intensely evaluated than the average adult, despite our best efforts. But some adults have a negative reaction to clinical trials, and I would like to argue against being negative about trials because the trials allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of therapy, and they're absolutely critical for an unusual sarcoma type and for high grade sarcomas.”
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