Limb-saving cancer treatment not significantly better than amputation

Cancer treatment of patients with bone and soft tissue sarcomas using techniques that avoid amputation may not guarantee a quality of life that is any better than that of amputees.

This is the finding of a study by Canadian researchers at McMaster University, the Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto, which will be published in the American Cancer Society journal entitled Cancer.

After analysing published papers on limb-sparing surgery, the scientists found that those who underwent the procedure were more likely to experience complications earlier.

Patients with lower limb bone sarcomas did not have a significantly better quality of life compared with those who opted for a limb-saving procedure.

Dr Wunder commented: "Future studies that include function, health-related quality of life, economics, and stratification of patients by age will be useful contributions to decision-making… by patients, health care providers and administrators."

A sarcoma is where cancer develops in connective tissue such as bone, cartilage and fat.

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