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A bone tumor shouldn't put childhood on pause.

Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Treatment Program

The multidisciplinary Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Treatment Program at the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC combines the expertise of pediatric and medical oncologists, orthopedic oncology surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, physical therapists, prosthetic specialists, social workers and child life specialists to provide patients compassionate, family-centered care. Our specialists balance the need for aggressive treatment with the need to provide patients with the highest quality of life both during and after cancer treatment. To accomplish this mission, the team works with patients, their families and the Cancer Institute Tumor Board to make decisions that are the most appropriate for treatment yet keep long-term impact as minimal as possible. Our patients have access to the latest treatments, pediatric or adult clinical trials, as well as innovative Phase I clinical trials. In addition, our patients are able to receive all of their treatments in the Cancer Institute’s state-of-the-art facilities—including surgeries, bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, and much more.

What We Treat

The Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Program at CHOC treats all bone and soft tissue sarcomas including but not limited to:

  • Rhabdomyosarcoma and a variety of other sarcomas
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Ewing’s sarcoma

Three young cancer patients wearing scarfs

Clinical trials

Children’s cancers are very different than adult cancers and must be treated with specific pediatric cancer protocols. Our experience in exclusively treating children, teens, and young adults makes us the experts in the evaluation and treatment of all forms of common childhood and adolescent cancers. A majority of our protocols come from the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a national organization funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Our relationship with the COG makes us the only medical center in the region offering Phase 1 COG clinical trials for pediatric cancer patients. Learn about our clinical trials.

Meet the Doctors

Dr. Elyssa Rubin

Elyssa Rubin, MD

Dr. Lilibeth L Torno

Lilibeth L Torno, MD

The Solid Tumor Treatment Program at CHOC is made up of a multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized medical and surgical experts who treat children and adolescents with solid tumor cancers. The program is led by Elyssa Rubin, M.D. and Lilibeth Torno, M.D.

Dr. Elyssa Rubin is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology. She completed her fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at CHOC and did her pediatric internship and residency training at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. Dr. Rubin attended medical school at the Sackler School of Medicine, NY State/American Branch in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Dr. Lilibeth Torno is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology and oncology. Dr. Torno completed her fellowship training at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and completed her residency at CHOC. She attended medical school at University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines. Dr. Torno also speaks Filipino.

Learn more about our exceptional pediatric oncology-trained nurses, social workers, psychologists, nurse practitioners, child life specialists and case coordinators at the Cancer Institute.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that a cancer diagnosis is overwhelming. To make the treatment process less confusing and easier to navigate, the Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Team has provided a list of frequently asked questions and answers about life with cancer. The answers to these questions should not replace information provided by your child's health care team.

Pathology results take at least three business days from the biopsy date. If pathology is difficult then it might be sent to another facility, which can take up to another week for final diagnosis.
Depending on the cancer type, usually the patient’s siblings are not at risk of developing the same cancer. Childhood cancer is not usually genetic but if there is strong family history of cancer, a genetic consult can be done.
Children do not get cancer because of something a caregiver did or didn’t do. We do not know the cause of childhood cancer but many researchers are looking for those answers. Many Cancer Institute patients have the opportunity to participate in research trials to help answer those questions.
Children on chemotherapy do not need to stay in the house. It is good for them to go outside and get fresh air. Just remember to use sunscreen and hats because chemotherapy can make their skin sensitive. The patient should also wear a mask when in crowded public places or when coming to and from the clinic and hospital. Learn more about the side effects of chemotherapy.
Children receiving chemotherapy do not need to be on a strict diet; a normal well balanced diet is recommended, and patients should avoid rare foods like sushi and rare meats. All fruits and vegetables should be washed and it is important to be mindful of expiration dates on food items.
No one knows how long a tumor (cancer) has been growing. Usually the tumor is not found until it gets big enough to cause pain or other symptoms that bring attention to it.
There is no need to get rid of the family pet unless it is a reptile or a bird. Reptiles and birds may carry salmonella. We recommend having another family member or friend take care of the pet while the patient is on chemotherapy. Patients should not clean up after or feed any family pet. We also advise against getting a new dog or pet while the patient is receiving treatment.
After treatment is completed, the patient will come to clinic every month for a doctor’s visit for the first year off therapy. Scans will be done every three months for the first year off therapy. The Hyundai Cancer Institute also offers a special After Cancer Survivorship Program that monitors the ongoing health needs of patients after treatment.