Dr Franks is an orthopaedic tumour surgeon and part of the NSW Bone and Soft Tissue Tumour unit at RPA. This is a very subspecialised branch of orthopaedics that deals with removal of various tumours from the soft tissue and bones of the arms, legs, and pelvis, and reconstruction thereafter. Just as important as the surgery for such tumours is the investigation, planning, and other treatments afforded by the other disciplines in the unit. The other members of the team include specialised radiologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and nursing staff. We aim to provide a standard of care and multidisciplinary approach to tumour investigation and management that is world renown.
I have been told I have a tumour – now what?
Tumour is just Latin for “growth” so it does not necessarily mean cancer. In fact the majority of tumours are benign (non-cancerous) but investigation is still required. If you have a growth or lump your GP or specialist can refer you to Dr Franks for further evaluation. Your relevant imaging will be gathered and a consultation arranged. Based on these assessments, a course of further investigation and management will be recommended that will deal with the tumour in a safe and effective way.
What to expect after you are referred to us
As soon as you are referred to us we will begin gathering your existing images and investigations, and based on these refer you for other necessary
investigations prior to your consultation. Although most lesions will be benign, we still treat new tumour referrals with urgency, to be safe. We therefore request that these investigations be undertaken by you with similar urgency.
What is a sarcoma?
A sarcoma is a type of cancer that starts in certain cells in the body such as fat, bone, cartilage, and fibrous tissue. Sarcomas make up about 2% of all cancers so are quite rare. The other main types of cancer are carcinoma
(breast/bowel/prostate etc.) and blood cancers (leukaemia, lymphoma etc.). Sarcomas are further divided into soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas depending on where they start growing. Like other cancers, if left unchecked sarcomas have the potential to spread to other areas of the body.
What are the treatments for sarcoma?
If sarcoma is confined to one location the treatment is usually surgery. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be given before, and or after, surgery depending on the size, type, and location of the sarcoma. If the sarcoma has spread to multiple locations, surgery may still be required but chemotherapy is usually the mainstay of treatment.
What is involved in sarcoma surgery?
Sarcoma is a cancer therefore resection with a wide margin of normal tissue surrounding the tumour is necessary. If a portion of bone or joint is removed with the sarcoma, skeletal or joint reconstruction is usually required. There are many options for this depending on the bone that needs to be replaced.
Metastatic disease to bone
Occasionally other more common cancers such as breast, prostate, thyroid etc. can spread to bone and cause fracture or weakness. As an orthopaedic tumour surgeon, Dr Franks frequently applies the principles of bone tumour resection and reconstruction to such patients to restore function and remove pain.
Sarcomas are very rare, and each tumour can act very differently. If you would like more information, please see the links below. It is prudent to stress that it is difficult to generalise useful information about sarcomas. Until the formal diagnosis, subtype, extent and response of a tumour has been assessed, it is unlikely that generalised published information on prognosis or treatment will be accurate.
Cancer Council Australia:
The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative:
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: