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NYU Langone doctors remain a part of your care after treatment for soft tissue sarcoma, scheduling follow-up visits every three to four months to ensure the sarcoma has not returned. During these follow-up appointments, doctors at Perlmutter Cancer Center may perform CT or MRI scans to look for signs of cancer.
A large part of your care after soft tissue sarcoma treatment may involve a rehabilitation program, especially if you have undergone limb sparing surgery or amputation.
After Limb Sparing Surgery
Soon after limb sparing surgery, our physicians at Rusk Rehabilitation can help you with wound and skin care to enhance your healing. Our doctors prescribe physical and occupational therapy to help you regain strength, balance, and range of motion in the affected arm or leg.
Maintaining the flexibility of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues helps to prevent contracture, a permanent tightening of a joint. Our therapists’ goal is to help you return to the activities most important to you, at home and in your community, as soon as possible.
Sometimes, limb sparing surgery can disrupt the lymph vessels, the tube-like structures that carry lymph fluid throughout the body in order to help fight infection. Damage to these vessels can cause a buildup of lymph fluid in the arms or legs, a condition called lymphedema.
After an evaluation, a Rusk Rehabilitation doctor can provide information on lymphedema prevention and its early warning signs, such as aching, tingling, or a feeling of fullness in the arms, hand, legs, or feet. Your doctor can also prescribe therapy for lymphedema. Our physical therapists can show you a number of physical techniques to help manage the condition.
Extensive rehabilitation starts in the hospital soon after surgery for people who have had a limb amputated. Doctors at Rusk Rehabilitation can help you control limb swelling, learn proper skin care for the affected area, and adapt to changes in posture and range of motion after the loss of a limb.
Our physical therapists can also help you begin to adapt to the use of a prosthetic, which can include instruction in how to wear and care for the device and an assessment of proper fit. Our experts can also provide techniques to improve your coordination, balance, and endurance.
After being discharged from the hospital, a Rusk Rehabilitation doctor coordinates a team of rehabilitation therapists who continue to help you learn skills that enable you to participate in activities at home, work, school, and in the community. Our programs focus on building strength and coordination and increasing activity levels.
Psychological and Emotional Support
Counseling can often help alleviate anxiety or depression during soft tissue sarcoma treatment. Support groups and one-on-one counseling sessions with a psycho-oncologist, a healthcare provider who is trained to address the psychological needs of people with cancer, are available at Perlmutter Cancer Center.
Group counseling is available at Rusk Rehabilitation and is designed to provide psychological and emotional support to people who have experienced the loss of a limb.
NYU Langone social workers are also available to help you address financial matters that arise while receiving treatment.
Neuropathy may be a side effect of chemotherapy used to treat soft tissue sarcoma. This condition causes nerve damage accompanied by numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the hands, feet, arms, legs, or other parts of the body.
Doctors at Rusk Rehabilitation can prescribe medication to ease discomfort from neuropathy and physical therapy to help you keep the condition from interfering with your balance and strength, as well as the ability to walk and perform daily activities.
Nutrition and Exercise
NYU Langone doctors encourage healthful eating for people with soft tissue sarcoma as part of their ongoing care. Registered oncology dietitians at Perlmutter Cancer Center can provide education and counseling on the foods that optimize your health and healing.
Physical and occupational therapists at Rusk Rehabilitation offer a program of strength and aerobic exercise to address weakness or fatigue caused by sarcoma or treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. After an evaluation, doctors can prescribe a rehabilitation program, with the goal of encouraging your independence at home and in your community.
NYU Langone’s supportive care team offers ongoing treatment at every point during your care in order to address any pain or discomfort that might occur during treatment and rehabilitation for soft tissue sarcoma. They may prescribe medications or recommend one or more of our integrative health services.
Integrative health services include massage therapy, which can help to reduce stress, and acupuncture, which may relieve both the pain associated with the cancer and the fatigue caused by radiation therapy.
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