Important questions to ask

Ok, Lisa suggested several thoughts. First question she asked me is "what kind of sarcoma, soft tissue, fibrous or bone?" She said that Leiomyosarcomas are smooth muscle tissue tumors sometimes found in elderly, but your mom could have a osteosarcoma (bone), liposarcoma (fatty tissue), etc.

first, find out if her insurance requires a second opinion before surgery.....
even if they do not, highly consider a second opinion -- & while getting it see which MD you trust most/like the best, etc.
Don't settle on first one you talk to -- and do some research on which hospital has best oncology program in atlanta.

(for ex., UNC hospitals here at the university in Chapel Hill has an excellent reputation -- however, I've had friends who chose a local smaller hospital affiliated with UNC because going to the cancer clinic at UNC is very depressing, chaotic and throngs of people with no hair in the waiting room.... the smaller hospital had MD's trained at UNC cancer clinic & the wiating room was 'friendlier' and less depressing...
you may want to look firsthand at where she may go for any treatments before or after surgery -- before she walks in the door.)

With either diagnosis though, she said these are some things to think about.

1. Given the size of the tumor, would it be helpful to do radiation to shrink it before removing it -- would her functional ability (using her leg, bearing weight, etc) after surgery be improved if the tumor were smaller before surgery?

2. What is the expected course for recovery after surgery, keeping in mind her dementia? Will she need rehab -- inpatient or outpatient? (if she needs inpatient rehab you can spend next 2 weeks finding a facility for her to enter after surgery -- ask if there is a casemanager or social worker with their practice that can help you to identify where to go)

3. (of course) How many of these surgeries have you performed this year -- how many in your career?

4. At what point will CT scan or other tests be done to look for any metastasis to lungs or abdomen? Should this be done before the surgery to help determine outcomes/life expectancy -- and help the family to have all information to make decisions about what your mom needs will be.
(for example, if this has spread into her body, will they recommend chemo or radiation for her at her age -- would the chemo or radiation be curative or palliative (provide comfort but not cure).

5. What are the risks or side effects of the surgery or other treatments that the MD recommends for your elderly mother?

6. What is her life expectancy with this diagnosis?