Soft Tissue Sarcomas

Also known as: sarcomas

What are soft tissue sarcomas?

Soft tissue sarcomas are rare cancers (malignant tumors that spread) that develop from the body’s soft tissues. They include a wide variety of types, including fat tissue tumors, and tumors starting in muscles, tendons, fibrous tissue (scar-like), vessels and nerves, among other tissues that can develop anywhere in the body. Rhabdomyosarcoma (from skeletal muscle), osteosarcoma (from bone) and Ewing's sarcoma (part of a “family” of cancers that include Peripheral Neuroectodermal Tumor-PNET), are among the commoner sarcomas found in children.

What causes soft tissue sarcomas?

The cause of soft tissue sarcomas is unknown, however they seem to be associated with a number of other conditions which have an inherited (genetic) basis. Exposure to chemicals and radiation may increase the risk of developing soft tissue sarcomas. 

What are the symptoms of soft tissue sarcomas? 

There may be no symptoms of a soft tissue sarcoma for a long time; subsequently a simple lump or swelling (which may or may not be painful) may be felt. Other symptoms depend on the position and size of the tumor, e.g. symptoms resulting from tumor pressure on a surrounding nerve or organ.

What are soft tissue sarcoma care options?

Surgery to remove the tumor is the preferred treatment for soft tissue sarcomas when possible. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapy are also used to treat the cancer that has spread beyond the tumor.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 11/6/2017 2:51:08 PM

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