What is soft tissue sarcoma?

Soft tissue sarcoma is a group of cancers that grow in parts of your body such as muscles, deep layers of the skin (hypodermis), and fat. Soft tissue sarcoma can also form on blood vessels, nerves, or connective tissue. There are more than 50 subtypes of soft tissue sarcoma.

What causes soft tissue sarcoma? Who is affected?

It is not clear what causes soft tissue sarcoma. Some risk factors associated with the disease are inherited syndromes, chemical exposure, and radiation exposure.

Both children and adults are affected by soft tissue sarcoma. Some types affect children more, while other types may affect adults more. About 13,000 people are diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma every year.

What are the symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma?

A soft tissue sarcoma may not have any signs or symptoms during the early stages. Once the tumor starts growing, it may cause:

  • Noticeable lump or swelling in the affected area
  • Pain if a tumor pushes against the nerve or muscle

How is soft tissue sarcoma treated?

 Since there are some many different types of soft tissue sarcomas, it is very important to diagnose the tumor properly so the best treatment can be chosen. Treatment for soft tissue sarcoma depends on the size and location of the tumor, but there are many different options.

When the tumor is very large and affects the arms and legs, radiation and chemotherapy may be used in order to shrink the tumor.

The three main treatments for soft tissue sarcoma are:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy

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