by Tony Craine, Health at Iowa
In spring 2015, Trent Phillips of Jesup, Iowa, felt a nagging pain in the back of his left leg that didn’t seem to be getting better.
“I thought I had pulled a hamstring,” Trent says. “I had done it before, while playing sports. I told myself, ‘Well, hamstrings take a while to heal.’”
When the pain didn’t subside and a bulge started to form, he visited his doctor in Jesup, who referred him to an orthopedic surgeon in Cedar Falls. The surgeon ordered an MRI on the leg and, after seeing the results, called Trent back to his office.
“He sat me down and said, ‘I’m not an oncologist, but I’m pretty sure you have sarcoma in your leg,’” Trent says.
Sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that develops in bones or in soft tissue, such as muscles or tendons. It accounts for less than 1 percent of all cancer cases. Sarcoma is not only uncommon, it also has more than 150 sub-types. This means that physicians with the training and expertise to specialize in the disease are also quite rare—only about 50 currently practice in the United States.
Trent’s surgeon referred him to Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa, where one of those hard-to-find sarcoma specialists is on staff: Mohammed Milhem, MBBS. His patients call him “Dr. Mo.”
Story Source: UI Health Care Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room W319 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009