Orthopaedic Oncology at Mass General: A Spirit of Collaboration
The Orthopaedic Oncology program was founded in 1972 by Dr. Henry Mankin. The scope of the service covers the comprehensive care of musculoskeletal oncology patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Boston Children’s Hospital. The service is fast-paced and requires excellent organizational and communicative skills. The diagnosis, treatment, and overall management of the orthopaedic oncology patient are complex. It requires coordination with our colleagues in Radiology, Pathology, Radiation Oncology, Pediatric and Adult Hematology Oncology, and other surgeons in the Thoracic, General Adult, Pediatric, Vascular, Plastic, Urology, Spine, Arthroplasty, and Hand Services.
We diagnosis benign and malignant bone and soft tissue tumors in patients that are primarily referred to us for evaluation of difficult problems. Our population consists of children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. We see more than 1,000 new patients each year, and this figure is growing. More soft tissue tumors are seen as compared to newly diagnosed bone tumors, which reflects the overall incidence of the soft tissue tumors relative to bone tumors. Patients with metastatic cancer are seen by our group, and we have especially focused on those with isolated metastatic disease.
We care for the Orthopaedic Oncology patient through all phases of their cancer experience. The phases include: physical exam, blood work, extensive radiographic imaging stating studies and biopsies to determine diagnosis, adjuvant treatment (chemotherapy and radiation), surgery, post-operation/rehabilitative care, routine oncology follow-up for up to 10 years or more, recurrences/metastases, and terminal or end-of-life care. The magnitude of their physical, emotional, and social needs creates quite a challenge for us.