Diagnosing Orthopedic Cancer

Our physicians gather information from the most advanced methods to develop the most complete and accurate diagnosis possible.

Orthopedic Physical Assessment

Minimally invasive biopsies can help accurately identify the cancer without going through surgery. Your physician removes tissues or cells from the concerning area to determine whether the tumor is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) and how aggressive it is.

Pathology review allows your musculoskeletal pathologist to learn about the tumor and cancer, including type, stage, and whether the tumor was completely removed on a microscopic level. It also determines whether your doctor needs to surgically remove more tissue around the tumor.

Contact Us

Are you struggling with a new bone cancer diagnosis? Need a second opinion or more advanced care? We're ready to fight for you. Please call us.

443-777-BONE

Advanced imaging pinpoints the tumor and possible growth of the cancer, using the most advanced technology.

Orthopedic radiology review by our expert orthopedic surgeons and radiologists, to examine the scans and films, and identify the location and possible growth of the tumor.

Each patient receives a thorough evaluation and goes through a complete diagnostic process before we create an individualized treatment plan. Our experts in bone and soft tissue tumors include a team of pathologists, musculoskeletal radiologists, musculoskeletal interventionalists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Many of our specialists are nationally and internationally recognized experts who lecture worldwide, serve on the editorial boards of prestigious publications, and hold leadership positions in subspecialty organizations.

When we see a new patient, that individual can frequently see all of us on one day -- avoiding multiple trips. And we see new patients within 48 hours or less.

Second Opinion

Getting a second opinion means asking an orthopedic cancer specialist, aside from your initial physician, to review your medical reports and test results and then provide a diagnosis and treatment recommendations. The specialist may confirm your initial diagnosis and treatment recommendations, provide additional treatment options, or even give more details about your type and stage of orthopedic cancer. Even if you’ve already had treatment, it’s not too late to get a second opinion. To get a second opinion contact our orthopedic cancer specialists by calling us at 877-715-HOPE.

Our Locations

Orthopedic Cancer at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
The National Center for Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors
9103 Franklin Square Dr., Ste. 2200
Baltimore, MD 21237

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Orthopedic Cancer Team

MedStar Health Cancer Network Orthopedic Oncologists

The orthopedic cancer doctors at MedStar Health are recognized experts in the treatment of soft tissue and bone cancers. We consider your trust in us to be both a tremendous privilege and responsibility. We are driven to destroy your cancer while fighting to preserve your quality of life and normal functioning. We have the combined expertise to treat any kind of musculoskeletal tumor.

Your MedStar team includes orthopedic oncology surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, and specialized nurses and physician assistants, all working together to deliver the most advanced treatments for orthopedic tumors. Working as an integrated team, our medical and surgical experts collaborate on a plan designed specifically for you.

Are you struggling with a new bone cancer diagnosis? Need a second opinion or more advanced care? We're ready to fight for you. Please call 443-777-BONE to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic cancer specialist.

Contact Us

Are you struggling with a new bone cancer diagnosis? Need a second opinion or more advanced care? We're ready to fight for you. Please call us.

443-777-BONE

 

Our Locations

Orthopedic Cancer at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
The National Center for Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors
9103 Franklin Square Dr., Ste. 2200
Baltimore, MD 21237

 

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Find an Orthopedic Cancer Specialist by Cancer Type

 

Albert Aboulafia, MD

Albert Aboulafia, MD
Medical Director, MedStar Health Cancer Network
Orthopedic Oncology

Matthew Wallace, MD

Matthew Wallace, MD
Orthopedic Oncology

Alycia Vanhorn, PA-C

Alycia Vanhorn, PA-C
Orthopedic Oncology Physician Assistant

Kevin Chen, MD

Kevin Chen, MD
Hematology, Oncology

Pallavi Kumar, MD

Pallavi Kumar, MD
Medical Oncology

Shweta Kurian, MD

Shweta Kurian, MD
Medical Oncology

David Perry, MD

David Perry, MD
Radiation Oncology

Emily Kuchinsky, CGC

Emily Kuchinsky, CGC
Certified Genetic Counselor

Jean Flack, RN, BSN, OCN, CCRC

Jean Flack, RN, BSN, OCN, CCRC
Oncology Research

Orthopedic Cancer Clinic Trials

Dr. Albert Aboulafia performs surgery on a patient.

Cancers of the bone and soft tissue can be complex to treat. Often, a clinical trial can provide a new option when other treatment options aren't the best solution for you. When you participate in a clinical trial you can get access to treatments years before they are available to the public.

Orthopedic cancer clinical trials are research studies that test the newest medical procedures or drugs to determine how safe and effective they are. These studies help to inform doctors and scientists about new and emerging cancer therapies, how they should be used, and which patients will benefit the most from these approaches.

The MedStar Health Research Institute conducts clinical investigations to improve the ability to diagnose and treat patients with orthopedic tumors. By participating in a clinical study at MedStar Health, you can not only play an active role in the treatment of your cancer, but possibly help others with orthopedic cancers in the future.

Because MedStar Health has an NCI-affiliated Cancer Center, we have access to the latest clinical trials available. Patients who participate in clinical trials receive, often at reduced or no cost:

  • The most advanced treatment options possible
  • Specialized, coordinated team-based care
  • Be among the first to benefit from a new therapy
  • An opportunity to help future cancer patients

How to Participate in a Clinic Trial for Orthopedic Cancer

To find out more about clinical trials taking place at the MedStar Health Research Institute, please call 301-560-7300.

The search for a clinical trial begins with your orthopedic cancer team. They will know which trials are available and what is most appropriate to explore based on your cancer type and stage. You can also search for trials online several ways:

Clinical Trials Frequently Asked Questions >>

Contact Us

Do you have a family history of orthopedic cancer? Do you need a second opinion or more advanced care? Please call us.

443-777-BONE

 

 

Our Locations

Orthopedic Cancer at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
The National Center for Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors
9103 Franklin Square Dr., Ste. 2200
Baltimore, MD 21237

 

Learn More

Soft Tissue Sarcomas

They are rare cancerous tumors that can grow in:

  • Blood vessels
  • Fat
  • Muscle
  • Nerves

About half of all soft-tissue sarcomas appear in the arms and legs. The rest appear in the head, neck, or trunk.

Our doctors have a vast amount of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of many types of soft-tissue sarcomas, including: 

  • Angiosarcoma of bone develops from the blood vessels and typically affects the long bones of the body. These tumors most frequently affect adults who are 60 and older.
  • Hemangioendothelioma develops in the epithelial cells, which line the inside of blood vessels. These tumors affect the soft tissues, liver, lungs, and bones.
  • Hemangiopericytoma develops in the brain, pelvis, head, and neck, though the tumors can be found anywhere in the body where blood vessels are present. These tumors can be benign or cancerous.
  • Hemangiosarcoma develops from the blood vessels in the arms, legs, head, and trunk.
  • Leiomyosarcoma develops from smooth muscles used to control the movement of internal organs and blood vessels. These tumors tend to affect adults.
  • Liposarcoma develops from fatty tissues and appears most often in the legs and trunk.
  • Lymphangiosarcoma develops from the lymph vessels and appears in the arms. It tends to affect tissues that may have been exposed to radiation.
  • Fibrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma develops in the tendons, ligaments, fat, or muscle that surround the bones and affects the arms, legs, or jaw. It is most common in older adults.
  • Neurofibrosarcoma develops from nerves and appears most often in the legs, arms, and trunk.
  • Radiation induced sarcoma develops in patients who have had previous radiation therapy. This sarcoma typically appears within 10 years of radiation therapy and tends to be considered a high-grade or more aggressive type of tumor.
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma develops from skeletal muscles used to move bones. It tends to affect young children and appears most often in the arms and legs.
  • Synovial sarcoma develops from tissues that cushion the joints, such as knees and elbows. It tends to affect children and teens.

 

Contact Us

Do you have a family history of orthopedic cancer? Do you need a second opinion or more advanced care? Please call us.

443-777-BONE

 

Our Locations

Orthopedic Cancer at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
The National Center for Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors
9103 Franklin Square Dr., Ste. 2200
Baltimore, MD 21237

Learn More

Bone Sarcomas

Sarcomas are tumors that occur in bones or soft tissue, such as muscles, fat, and nerve tissue. Our doctors classify sarcomas according to the type of tissue in which they start. Primary bone sarcomas begin in the bones, while secondary tumors begin in a different part of the body and spread to the bones.

Learn more about our cancer diagnostic and treatment options.

Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. Most osteosarcomas occur in children and young adults, though they can develop at any age.

There are three grades of osteosarcomas:

  • High-grade
  • Intermediate-grade
  • Low-grade

Contact Us

Do you have a family history of orthopedic cancer? Do you need a second opinion or more advanced care? Please call us.

443-777-BONE

 

High-Grade Osteosarcomas

There are three main types of high-grade osteosarcomas:

  • Intracortical osteosarcoma is the rarest type of osteosarcoma. We commonly find it in the arms or legs of patients who are 30 or younger.
  • High-grade surface osteosarcoma (juxtacortical high-grade) is the least common of surface osteosarcomas found in the legs or arms. We usually treat these tumors through surgery, as well as chemotherapy before and after surgery.
  • Telangiectatic osteosarcoma is a rare form of osteosarcoma most commonly found in patients who are 15 to 20.

Intermediate Osteosarcomas

The main type of intermediate osteosarcoma we treat is periosteal osteosarcoma (juxtacortical intermediate-grade). We most commonly find this type of sarcoma in the upper and lower parts of the leg.

Most patients with periosteal osteosarcoma are between the ages of 10 and 20. We usually treat these tumors with the same therapies as low-grade osteosarcomas.

Low Grade Osteosarcomas

There are three main types of low-grade osteosarcomas:

  • Conventional intramedullary osteosarcoma starts in the bones of the arms, legs, or pelvis. This type of sarcoma appears more often in males than females and in patients under 30.
  • Low grade intraosseous osteosarcoma is typically found around the knee. It only occurs in 1 percent to 2 percent of all osteosarcoma patients, usually in adults older than 20.
  • Parosteal osteosarcoma is typically found behind the knee. It is most commonly diagnosed in women who are between 20 and 40.

Chondrosarcoma

Chondrosarcoma is the second most common type of bone cancer. It begins in the cartilage and tends to become more common as patients age past 20.

There are many types of chondrosarcoma, including:

  • Clear-cell chondrosarcoma is most commonly found in the upper arms and legs. The prognosis for this type of cancer is typically better than for other chondrosarcomas.
  • Conventional chondrosarcoma is the most common type of chondrosarcoma and typically does not spread.
  • Dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma is a very aggressive form of bone cancer. Treatment can include surgery and chemotherapy.
  • Juxtacortical (periosteal) chondrosarcoma is found in the upper leg, upper arm, pelvis, or ribs. These types of tumors are most common in patients younger than 20.
  • Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma is found in the jaw, pelvis, spine, and shoulder blade. It is most common in adults 30 and older.
  • Secondary chondrosarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer. This type of cancer can be difficult to diagnose, although it has a high survival rate.

Ewing Sarcoma and Other Types of Bone Sarcomas

Our doctors have a vast amount of expertise in the treatment of many other forms of bone sarcoma in addition to osteosarcomas. These types of tumors include:

  • Adamantinoma is a rare form of bone cancer that we most often find in the shinbone. This type of sarcoma can affect anyone, although it occurs most frequently in younger men between the ages of 20 and 35.
  • Chordoma is a rare type of cancer occurring in the bones at the base of the skull and spine, usually in the sacrum or area where the two hipbones of the pelvis meet.
  • Ewing tumor is the third most common type of bone cancer. Also known as Ewing’s sarcoma, this sarcoma can either begin in the bones or in the soft tissue. Ewing tumors occur most often in children and teens.
  • Fibrosarcoma of bone is a rare cancer that is most common in the legs or trunk of the body. It can affect patients of all ages.
  • Lymphoma of bone is very rare, occurring in only 3 percent of cancerous bone tumors. It is most common in patients over age 30, affecting more men than women.
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone is a rare type of tumor that typically affects adults in their 50s. Treatment can include surgery and radiation therapy.
  • Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow. This tumor type most commonly affects patients older than 65.
  • Paget’s sarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer that occurs in older patients with extensive Paget’s disease, a chronic disease that involves the deterioration of bone tissue in the spine, skull, or pelvis.
  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) is a rare, malignant tumor that forms from early nerve cells. PNET is most common in children and young adults. We typically find PNET in the brain’s cerebrum, and it is among the most aggressive kind of tumors found in children.

Our Locations

Orthopedic Cancer at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
The National Center for Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors
9103 Franklin Square Dr., Ste. 2200
Baltimore, MD 21237

Learn More

Benign Orthopedic Tumors

Not all tumors of the bones and connecting tissues lead to cancer. However, benign orthopedic tumors may still lead to serious problems. Without proper treatment, these tumors can put pressure on healthy bones and tissues, which can lead to discomfort or issues with your bone and muscle structure.

Though some childhood benign orthopedic tumors can disappear over time, many require expert treatment. We use the latest methods to diagnose and treat the following types of these tumors:

  • Aneurysmal bone cysts are most common in children and young adults. These cysts can cause the bones in the arms, legs, trunk, or skull to expand in a way that causes pressure and pain. They often come back after removal.
  • Benign fibrous histiocytoma is a rare type of tumor, making up only 1 percent of all benign bone tumors. These tumors are most often found in adults age 20 and older, and they can appear in many parts of the body, including the knee, hip, or skull.
  • Bone island (enostosis) is most commonly found in the upper leg, ribs, and pelvis. These tumors do not need to be removed, though they can become quite large.
  • Chondroblastoma is a rare benign tumor that grows near the ends of the thighbone, shinbone, and upper arm bone. They typically occur in children and young adults and are more common in males.
  • Chrondromyxofibroma is very rare and usually occurs in patients younger than 30. Surgery is the most common type of treatment for these types of tumors.
  • Desmoplastic fibroma is a rare tumor that affects children and young adults. It is most common in the bones of the face, skull, upper arms, and upper legs.
  • Enchondroma is most common in the hands and feet, though it can also affect the thighbone, upper arm, or lower parts of the leg. A condition in which a patient has many enchondromas is called enchondromatosis.
  • Eosinophilic granuloma can be found anywhere in the body but is most common in the skull, spine, ribs, and upper arms and legs. It typically affects children and young adults.
  • Fibrous dysplasia causes scar like tissue to develop in place of normal bone. This type of bone disorder is rare and most common in children younger than 10.
  • Ganglion (intraosseous) are cysts that commonly form along the tendons or joints of the wrist or hand. We can remove these surgically, though many go away on their own.
  • Giant cell tumors can be cancerous or benign, though cancerous versions are rare. Giant-cell tumors appear in the arms or legs. They can be removed, though they often recur.
  • Hemangioma can occur anywhere in the body, including the bone, internal organs, muscle, and skin. Most do not require any treatment.
  • Melorheostosis affects the growth and development of bone and soft tissue. It can cause chronic pain; stiff muscles, tendons, and ligaments; and deformities of the limb, hand, or foot.
  • Nonossifying fibroma is the most common bone tumor in kids. The tumors do not generally cause pain and often go away on their own without treatment.
  • Osteoblastoma tumors can be found anywhere in the body, though they are most common in the spine. If the tumors grow large and become painful, we usually recommend surgery to remove them.
  • Osteochondroma is a very common type of tumor affecting the legs, pelvis, and shoulder blade. Most patients are between 10 and 30.
  • Osteoma is a type of benign head tumor. The tumor can cause headaches, sinus infections, or hearing and vision problems.
  • Osteoid osteomas can be extremely painful due to chemicals released by the tumor into the surrounding nerves. They can appear anywhere in the bone.
  • Periosteal chondroma tumors often occur in the fingers, toes, upper arms, or thighbones. They are most common in people younger than 30. Periosteal chondromas can cause swelling and dull, achy pain at the tumor site.

Contact Us

Do you have a family history of orthopedic cancer? Do you need a second opinion or more advanced care? Please call us.

443-777-BONE

 

Our Locations

Orthopedic Cancer at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
The National Center for Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors
9103 Franklin Square Dr., Ste. 2200
Baltimore, MD 21237

Learn More

Symptoms and Risks of Orthopedic Cancer

Any cancer diagnosis is scary and life-changing, but there is something about cancer that begins in or spread to the bones that can feel incredibly distressing to patients and their families. Many patients wonder "why didn't I see the signs?" or "could this have been prevented?"

The orthopedic oncology specialists and researchers at MedStar Health treat thousands of patients with both common and rare orthopedic tumors each year and have treated many variations of the disease at all stages of diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms of Orthopedic Tumors

  • Bone pain that comes and goes or gets worse at night
  • Swelling or tenderness, with or without bone pain
  • Weak bones or easy fractures
  • Extreme fatigue or weight loss

These symptoms can also be attributed to non-cancerous conditions or osteoporosis. If you have any of the above symptoms, see your primary care physician right away.

Contact Us

Do you have a family history of orthopedic cancer? Do you need a second opinion or more advanced care? Please call us.

443-777-BONE

 

Orthopedic Cancer Risk Factors

There is no clear cause of bone or soft tissue cancer, but doctors and researchers have determined factors that increase risk:

Previous Treatments

  • Previous radiation therapy
  • Previous chemotherapy
  • Metal implants
  • Bone marrow (stem cell) transplantation

Genetic Factors

  • Osteosarcoma in a family member
  • Hereditary retinoblastoma (a rare eye cancer cause by genetic mutation)

Current or Previous Conditions

  • Cancer that has spread from another area of the body
  • Paget's disease
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Rothmund-Thomson syndrome
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • Diamond-Blackfan anemia
  • Children born with umbilical hernia

Family history of osteosarcoma or other orthopedic cancers is a known risk factor for patients. Genetic counseling can help assess your risk of orthopedic cancers based on your family medical history.

Orthopedic Cancer Prevention

Because it is not clear what causes orthopedic cancer, it is difficult to determine ways to prevent the disease. As with any cancer, though, the key to better outcomes is early detection of orthopedic cancer and of any cancer type, preventing metastatis to the bones. Your outcomes can also be improved with a healthy, tobacco-free lifestyle that includes optimal nutrition, exercise and stress reduction.

Our Locations

Orthopedic Cancer at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
The National Center for Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors
9103 Franklin Square Dr., Ste. 2200
Baltimore, MD 21237

Learn More

Cancer Support Services

cancer support services

Contact Us

For a physician referral, please call 1-877-715-HOPE.

Survivors Day Celebrations

Click here to view photos and videos from Survivors Day

Help for New Patients, Survivors, and Families

The cancer experience is life-changing for patients and their loved ones. Cancer patients need support before, during and after their treatment. At the MedStar Health Cancer Network, our goal is to provide compassionate and professional care to individuals affected by cancer, promote the healing process and treat the whole person.

Our genetic counselor and team of highly trained social workers, dietitians, and chaplains work closely with patients, family members and loved ones to make sure they have access to the resources they  need during the cancer journey—whether they are educational, financial, emotional or spiritual. Most of our services are free for MedStar Health Cancer Network patients.

Our services focus on building strength, resilience and hope—giving patients the skills to take control of their lives. We offer support groups, one-on-one counseling, educational workshops, and nutrition and exercise programs. Associates work one-on-one and in groups with patients and their loved ones.

Our services include:  

Cancer Rehabilitation

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Genetic Counseling

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 Lymphedema Management

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Support Services & Survivorship

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National Cancer Survivors Day Celebrations

Every year cancer survivors and supporters gather to celebrate and share their amazing stories of perseverance, courage, and inspiration.  We are excited to share photos and videos of our annual celebrations. Click below to view.

Cancer Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation can improve the quality of life for people being treated for or who have completed treatment for cancer. Rehab can improve strength, decrease pain, treat lymphedema and much more. If you have an impairment or discomfort related to your cancer or cancer treatment, talk to your provider to see if rehab could help you. Click here for more information on Cancer Rehabilitation. For additional information on physical therapy click here.

Genetic Counseling

Many patients who have a family history of cancer are now considering genetic testing. Our certified genetic counselors work with patients to determine if they are candidates for genetic testing and help them cope with any medical, psychological, financial, or other issues that may result. Patients who test positive for an inherited cancer gene are offered options in medical management, including screening and risk reduction. Click here for more information on Genetics Counseling.

Cardio-Oncology

MedStar Health started the first cardio-oncology program in the Greater Baltimore/Washington, D.C., metropolitan area nearly a decade ago to address the heart problems that can occur as a result of some cancer treatments. Our team, comprised of specialized cardiologists and oncologists, focus on the cardiovascular care of patients throughout their cancer journey. Click here to learn more.

Support Services

Video Gallery

In this video series, we’ll review important information about chemotherapy treatment to help you understand more and know what to expect when coming in for your chemotherapy treatment. We hope you find these a useful part of the journey into survivorship.

Financial Assistance

The cost of cancer care can be a significant financial burden. It is important to understand your insurance benefits and ask for help when you need it. Our financial counselors are trained to assist with any questions or concerns you may have about the cost of care, and can help determine if you may qualify for financial assistance.

Image Services

Our image services are focused on helping cancer patients regain a positive self-image. Services include breast prosthesis, demonstrations of cosmetics, skin care treatments, and hair replacement as well as wardrobe and makeup techniques. We also offer Look Good Feel Better, a free program from the American Cancer Society designed for women dealing with hair loss and skin changes from chemotherapy and radiation.

Integrative Therapy

We offer a variety of integrative therapies to support the healing of the mind and body, including massage therapy and therapeutic yoga. These services are available at several MedStar Health Cancer Network locations.   

Nutrition Counseling

Advice from a dietitian can help you manage symptoms before, during and after cancer treatment. Nutrition counseling helps patients optimize their treatment. Plus, good nutrition and healthy eating aids in recovery and helps patients achieve and maintain a better quality of life.

In addition to one-on-one counseling, we offer oncology nutrition classes throughout the year providing tips and ideas on how to make healthy and delicious meals.

Psychosocial and Pastoral Counseling

Dealing with cancer requires a supportive team. Psychosocial and pastoral counseling provide patients and their families with support coping with the many issues beyond the physical that often accompany a cancer diagnosis.

Support Groups and Retreats

We regularly host a variety of support groups and retreats to provide individuals who are living with cancer, cancer survivors and those who love them with the opportunity to share their experiences with others. These events are held at locations throughout the MedStar Cancer Network. 

Survivorship Planning and Counseling

Our commitment to your health extends beyond your initial treatment. Many cancer survivors find the transition back to everyday medical care difficult after years spent under the care and guidance of cancer specialists. We work with you through this process and follow up with you on a regular basis after the completion of treatment to ensure your long-term health.

For additional resources and more information on Survivorship learn more from the National Cancer Institute

Locations

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
9103 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
5601 Loch Raven Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Harbor Hospital
The Cancer Center
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
3333 North Calvert St.
Johnston Professional Bldg
G23
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus
Oncology Center & Breast Center
12 MedStar Blvd. 
Bel Air, MD 21015


In The News

Breast Cancer Survivorship - WMAR Think Pink Housecalls

MedStar Health Cancer Network Earns National Accreditation with Commendation by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons

 CommissionCancer

Baltimore—(June 2, 2015)—The MedStar Health Cancer Network has been granted Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS). The Cancer Network, comprised of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan, MedStar Harbor and MedStar Union Memorial Hospitals, is committed to delivering the highest standards of care—this national endorsement further validates the quality of care its experts provide to cancer patients in the Baltimore community.

“MedStar Health Cancer Network recognizes the importance of our multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer,” said Phyllis Gray, vice president of Oncology for the MedStar Health Cancer Network. “We are proud of our commitment to providing the best possible care and outcome. This achievement speaks to the quality of our program and the opportunity to impact lives because of the team focus on a complex group of diseases. Cancer treatment relies on consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists and other cancer specialists.”

To earn voluntary CoC accreditation, a cancer program must meet or exceed 34 CoC quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process, and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care. Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation is only awarded to a facility that exceeds standard requirements at the time of its triennial survey. 

The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for the four Baltimore MedStar Hospitals to improve the quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs that focus on the full spectrum of cancer care including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care.  When patients receive care at a CoC facility, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling, and patient centered services including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient receives and seeks to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.

To learn more about the Cancer Network, click here.

The MedStar Health Baltimore Cancer Network was one of only 20 programs in the nation and one of two in Maryland to receive the 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award from American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer

About the MedStar Health Cancer Network

Comprised of four MedStar Health hospitals, the MedStar Health Cancer Network represents a true collaboration in cancer care. Our dedicated team of surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, oncology nurses and cancer support staff collaborate to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of cancer patients and their families throughout the greater Baltimore region. Our goal is to provide evidenced based quality, care with a focus on service and easy access.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

About The Commission on Cancer (CoC)
Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving patient outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care.  Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons.  For more information, visit: www.facs.org/cancer.

Genetic Testing

Image of the Rasmussen family, patients at MedStar Franklin Square, prepare for genetic testing for breast cancer.

The Rasmussen family, patients at MedStar Franklin Square, prepare for genetic testing for breast cancer. 

MedStar Health Cancer Network provides genetic counseling or testing (a simple blood test to detect the gene) to patients who believe they may be affected by a hereditary factor.

Most cancers are sporadic, meaning they are dependent on environmental factors such as diet or tobacco usage/exposure and not heredity—less than 5 percent of 1.5 million annual cancer cases (predominantly breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancers) are based on heredity. However, family members can pass inherited cancer gene mutations from generation to generation. 

The knowledge from genetic testing can provide patients' options—including close monitoring or surgery to preemptively remove the areas where cancer may develop—and it may lead to prevention for future generations. It can also provide ease of mind if you do not have a genetic mutation. 

Call 443-777-7656 to talk to Emily Kuchinsky, MS, CGC, certified genetic counselor.

How do I learn about my genetic cancer risk and what can I do about it?

Our certified genetic counselor specializes in genetically inherited cancers. She will meet with you to assess your inherited cancer risk. During your initial two-hour assessment,

  • A family medical history will be taken
  • The role of inherited gene mutations will be explained
  • The likelihood that cancer-causing genes may have been (or may be) inherited by members of your family will be estimated
  • Your likelihood of developing cancer (at some time in your life) will be estimated
  • Ways to diagnose cancer at an early stage will be discussed
  • Opportunities to lower your risk of cancer will be discussed

From that meeting, some clients may pursue further counseling where psychological and financial concerns are explored before deciding whether or not to pursue testing. The testing itself requires only that a small sample of blood be drawn and sent to a genetics laboratory for analysis.

If you are identified as high-risk, we recommend increased screenings and suggest you discuss other risk-reducing options with your physician.

Who should seek counseling and testing?

Patients who have strong family histories of cancer, especially a diagnosis of cancer at an early age, or who are in treatment for breast or ovarian cancer - or who are breast or ovarian cancer survivors - should seriously consider genetic testing.

If you test positive for a cancer gene mutation, this information is of vital importance to all your blood relatives: sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins, children, grandchildren and other family members. Each family member has a 50:50 chance of having inherited the mutated gene.

Today, there is opportunity to practice good cancer prevention. Medical and surgical preventions are available as well as lifestyle changes and cancer screening. If your family members know that they are at increased risk of developing cancer, they can actually take action to protect themselves.

A personal choice

We recognize that genetic testing is a very personal choice. While the test itself usually involves no more than providing a blood sample, test results can be far-reaching. Our cancer risk assessment and counseling program is designed to answer your questions about:

    • Risk assessment procedures
    • DNA testing
    • Benefits and limitations
    • Psychological effect
    • Family issues
    • Insurance and privacy issues
    • Employment issues
    • Cancer education
    • Cancer risk reduction
    • Medical options
    • Physician referrals

Emily Kuchinsky, MS, CGC, Certified Genetic Counselor

To contact Ms. Kuchinsky, please call 443-777-7656

Image of Emily Kuchinsky, MS, CGC, a certified genetic counselor and coordinator of the cancer risk assessment and counseling program for the MedStar Health Cancer NetworkEmily Kuchinsky, MS, CGC, is a certified genetic counselor and coordinator of the cancer risk assessment and counseling program for the MedStar Health Cancer Network. Ms. Kuchinsky has been consulting with patients and their families regarding genetic health concerns for more than 10 years. She conducts cancer risk assessment for patients and families with a personal and/or family history of cancer as well as genetic testing if the likelihood of a cancer genetic syndrome is high.

Ms. Kuchinsky is an integral part of the oncology services offered through the MedStar Health Cancer Network, participating in multiple tumor boards per week and providing input as to which patients should undergo a cancer risk assessment. She also conducts community outreach to educate consumers, as well as other healthcare providers, about cancer genetics.  Certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling, Ms. Kuchinsky holds a master’s degree from the University of Arizona in genetic counseling. Her services are available at all Baltimore MedStar Health hospitals.

Listen to Emily Kuchinsky, MS, certified genetic counselor with the MedStar Health Cancer Network, to find out if you are a good candidate for genetic testing, and learn more about genetic testing from our experts: 

Contact Us

Call 443-777-7656 to talk to Emily Kuchinsky, MS, CGC, certified genetic counselor.

Location Information

Genetic Testing at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
9103 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
5601 Loch Raven Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21239

Genetic Testing at MedStar Harbor Hospital
The Cancer Center
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
3333 North Calvert St.
Johnston Professional Bldg
G23
Baltimore, MD 21218

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