What Are the Basics of Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

What is soft tissue sarcoma?

A soft tissue sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that develops in connective tissue, including muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons and the lining of your joints.

It can occur anywhere in your body, but mostly occur in the arms and legs, and in the abdomen.

Below is a list of different types of soft tissue sarcoma.

  • Angiosarcoma
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans
  • Epithelioid sarcoma
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Liposarcoma
  • Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors
  • Myxofibrosarcoma
  • Pleomorphic sarcoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Solitary fibrous tumor
  • Synovial sarcoma
  • Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma

What are signs and symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma?

In the early stages, a soft tissue sarcoma usually does not cause any signs and symptoms.

As the tumor grows, it may cause:

  • a noticeable but painless lump or swelling
  • pain or soreness, if it presses against nearby nerves and muscles
  • abdominal pain, if it occurs in the abdomen

Go to see a doctor if you have:

  • a lump that is increasing in size or becomes painful;
  • a lump of any size that’s located deep within a muscle
  • recurrence of a lump that’s been removed

What are causes or risk factors of soft tissue sarcoma?

In most cases, it’s not identifiable what causes soft tissue sarcoma.

Factors that may increase your risk of sarcoma include:

  • Inherited syndromes
  • Chemical exposure
  • Radiation exposure


How to diagnose soft tissue sarcoma?

Due to the variety of types of soft tissue sarcoma, it’s of great importance to determine the exact nature of each tumor so that the best treatments can be chosen.

Imaging tests

To evaluate the area of concern, your doctor might employ:

  • X-rays
  • Computerized tomography scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Positron emission tomography

Biopsy

Biopsy is the only reliable way to determine whether a soft tissue tumor is benign or malignant.

The two methods for acquisition of tumor tissue for cytopathological analysis are:

  • Core needle biopsy
  • Surgical biopsy

What are treatment options for soft tissue sarcoma?

Treatment options for soft tissue sarcoma should depend on the size, type, location and stage of your tumor.

Treatment options for soft tissue sarcoma may include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted drug treatment

Consult a doctor to make sure your tumor is best treated.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.