Medical technology is taking another major step in the treatment of bone cancer.
The tumours, known as sarcomas, often affect children, adolescents and young adults.
Professor Peter Choong from St Vincent’s Hospital told 9NEWS these cancers are rare but surgery and chemotherapy can have major side effects.
“Surgery sometimes has to be as aggressive as amputating the limb,” the Melbourne-based orthopaedic specialist said.
“We have to sacrifice joints and rebuild them in very complex ways.”
Perth mum and sarcoma survivor Louise Wheeler, 29, considers herself lucky.
Five years ago she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma – a tumour in her left shin.
During prolonged treatment including chemotherapy and surgery she lost her knee joint and part of her tibia bone.
But doctors saved her leg.
“We were able to salvage my limb. And while we worked to salvage the knee joint unfortunately wasn’t the case for me. But I have had a great outcome and I feel lucky and really blessed,” Ms Wheeler said.
She is heartened to learn of a new $12 million project to potentially save the limbs and joints of similar cancer patients in future.
The medical and manufacturing collaboration will combine 3D printing and robotic technology in a single surgery.
Robots will be used to precisely cut tumours out of affected bone.
Simultaneously a 3D printer will build a custom-fit implant to perfectly fill the space left by the removed, diseased bone.
By Emily Rice | 9News (AU)
Image Credit: Emily Rice/9News (AU)