- Experience. Because desmoid tumors are rare, not all doctors are experienced in treating them. At Mayo Clinic, you'll find the experienced specialists that you need.
- Expertise and team approach. Your multidisciplinary team of experts may include medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, orthopedic oncologists (orthopedic surgeons who specialize in bone and soft tissue tumors), plastic surgeons, vascular surgeons, general surgeons and rehabilitation experts.
Doctors may use the following imaging tests. In tests that involve radiation, specialists carefully monitor doses to avoid the risk of radiation overexposure.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasound is a painless, noninvasive procedure in which a technician moves a wand-like device (transducer) over the surface of your body. High-frequency sound waves form images on a screen to identify desmoid tumors.
- Computerized tomography (CT). CT scans generate cross-sectional images of the body that can show whether cancer has spread to other tissues or organs.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of the area affected by the desmoid tumor. This highly sensitive technology can identify small abnormalities.
Surgery may be needed to get a biopsy sample for accurate diagnosis. After a specialist gathers tissue, a pathologist examines the cells under a microscope to determine if desmoid cells are present. For small tumors, the specialist may remove the entire mass during the biopsy procedure.
Read more about ultrasound, CT scan, MRI and biopsy.
Desmoid tumors can be treated with surgery, radiation, hormone therapy or medications. Often a combination of these treatments offers the best chance of success.
- Surgery. Surgeons will remove the tumor if it is safe to do so. You may receive chemotherapy and radiation before surgery to reduce the tumor or after surgery to kill remaining cells.
- Chemotherapy. If you need chemotherapy, you may receive a combination of tumor-fighting drugs, with or without surgery and radiation.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation may be used as a supplement to surgery, delivered before or after surgery, or in cases when the tumor cannot be safely removed. Depending upon the tumor's size, shape and location, tumors are treated using 3-D conformal radiation therapy or intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), both highly precise technologies.
- Medications. Mayo Clinic doctors may use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other medications to treat desmoid tumors.
- Hormone therapy. Hormone therapy may be effective at controlling desmoid tumors and decreasing symptoms.
Mayo Clinic: Answers you can trust
At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.
Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.
Why Choose Mayo Clinic
What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart
Nov. 19, 2012