The Orthopedic Oncology Department at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) provides specialized cancer treatment for all malignant musculoskeletal diseases. This includes all primary bone and soft tissue sarcomas, as well as metastatic cancers that start somewhere else in the body and spread to the bone.
Who are orthopedic oncologists?
Orthopedic oncologists are orthopedic surgeons who specialize in diagnosing and treating malignant disorders of the musculoskeletal system, including bone and soft tissue sarcomas.
Orthopedic oncologists have received formal, advanced training in the field, which includes an additional fellowship in orthopedic oncology following a residency training program.
The program also addresses orthopedic problems (e.g., arthritis, osteoporosis) that may occur alongside cancer and/or its treatment. For instance, if you have breast cancer or multiple myeloma and require a knee or hip replacement for arthritis, CTCA can treat both conditions.
The team also provides orthopedic surgeries unrelated to cancer for CTCA patients. “Patients with cancer deserve a specialist in orthopedics too. If you have cancer, you can come to CTCA for your orthopedic needs. For many, it’s the start of a new beginning,” says Dr. Richard Schmidt, Medical Director of Orthopedic Oncology at CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center (Eastern). Dr. Schmidt also treats patients at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern).
The goal of the program is to help you fight cancer, while also helping to relieve pain, preserve mobility and improve your overall quality of life.
Explore orthopedic oncology procedures
The orthopedic oncology team at Eastern
Because of the rarity of primary bone tumors, there are a limited number of orthopedic oncologists in the country. Eastern is proud to be one of the few cancer hospitals on the East Coast to have an orthopedic oncologist on staff. Dr. Schmidt has been internationally recognized for his expertise in orthopedic cancers.
Dr. Schmidt and the rest of the orthopedic oncology team, including his wife, Nancy Haber, an orthopedic oncology nurse with 25 years experience, provide advanced treatments for primary bone and soft tissue sarcomas and metastatic cancer, as well as care for orthopedic issues.
“When I see a patient who has an orthopedic oncologic problem, my job is to tell them what their options are. So, the patient is always very much involved in what happens to them. We don’t say: ‘This is your problem. This is what you need.’ Instead, we say: ‘Here is your diagnosis. This is what it means in terms of how it will affect your life. Here are your options in terms of how we can handle it.’ It is always tailored towards the patient and what his or her expectations are,” says Dr. Schmidt.
While they help you fight cancer, the orthopedic oncology team will collaborate with the rest of your care team to help relieve your pain, restore your independence, and improve your overall quality of life. “Quality of life is very important. Our goal is to get people out of pain, and up and moving as soon as possible,” says Haber.