Soft Tissue Sarcoma Facts

Soft tissue sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that originates in the soft tissues of the body. Soft tissues include muscles, tendons, fat, blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues. Soft tissue sarcoma can occur in any part of the body, but it most commonly affects the arms, legs, trunk or abdomen.

  • Soft tissue sarcomas are relatively rare, accounting for about 1% of all adult cancers. However, they can occur at any age, including childhood, and may present in both pediatric and adult populations.There are many different subtypes of soft tissue sarcoma, each arising from different types of cells within the soft tissues. Examples of soft tissue sarcoma subtypes include liposarcoma (arising from fat cells), leiomyosarcoma (arising from smooth muscle cells) and fibrosarcoma (arising from fibrous tissues).
  • The symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma can vary depending on the location and size of the tumor.Common symptoms may include:
    • A painless lump or swelling in the affected area
    • Pain or tenderness at the tumor site, especially if the tumor presses on nearby nerves or muscles
    • Difficulty moving or using the affected limb or body part
    • Neurological symptoms if the tumor affects nerves
    • Symptoms related to compression of nearby structures, such as difficulty breathing if the tumor is in the chest
  • Diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma typically involves imaging studies such as MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound to visualize the tumor and assess its size and location. A biopsy of the tumor is then performed to confirm the presence of cancerous cells and determine the specific subtype of soft tissue sarcoma.Treatment for soft tissue sarcoma usually involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and sometimes chemotherapy. The primary goal of treatment is to remove the tumor completely while preserving as much healthy tissue and function as possible. 

    The specific treatment approach depends on factors such as the size, location and subtype of the tumor, as well as the individual patient’s overall health and preferences.

The prognosis for soft tissue sarcoma varies depending on factors such as the stage of the tumor, the subtype and the response to treatment. 

Overall, the prognosis for soft tissue sarcoma is generally better when the tumor is diagnosed and treated at an early stage. However, some subtypes of soft tissue sarcoma may be more aggressive and have a poorer prognosis.