Soft Tissue Sarcoma

What is soft tissue sarcoma?

There are more than 50 different types of soft tissue sarcomas, a type of cancer that starts in the fat, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, deep skin and fibrous tissues. This type of cancer often begins in the arms and legs, but may also form in the abdomen, chest or anywhere in the body.

People most at risk for this type of cancer include people who:

  • Have a damaged lymph system
  • Have been exposed to certain chemicals
  • Have been exposed to radiation (for other types of cancer)

Soft tissue sarcoma is also more common in people who have a family history of cancer syndromes, such as hereditary retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, and Werner syndrome.

Symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma

Soft tissue sarcoma often begins with a lump in the leg or arm that gets larger over the course of weeks or months. You may also experience pain due to the tumor placing pressure on the surrounding nerves and muscles.

Other symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Black, tarry stools (bowel movements)
  • Bloody stool or vomit

Diagnosis and testing for soft tissue sarcoma

If you have a genetic risk of cancer syndrome or you have symptoms that are concerning you, be sure to see your doctor. After review of your medical history and discussion of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend certain tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound and biopsy to determine whether or not you have a tumor and if so, whether it is cancerous or not.

If you are diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you and help you decide next steps.

Here at Main Line Health our multidisciplinary team of doctors has vast experience treating soft tissue sarcomas, from screening and diagnosis to surgical treatments and advanced therapies to survivorship—to help you along your cancer journey and to help ensure the best possible outcome.



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