Adult Soft Tissue Sarcoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - General Information About Adult Soft Tissue Sarcoma
Adult soft tissue sarcoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the soft tissues of the body.
The soft tissues of the body include the muscles, tendons (bands of fiber that connect muscles to bones), fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, and tissues around joints. Adult soft tissue sarcomas can form almost anywhere in the body, but are most common in the head, neck, arms, legs, trunk, and abdomen.
Metastases at diagnosis are detected in approximately 25% of patients. The prognosis of patients with metastatic disease is poor. Current therapies for patients who present with metastatic disease achieve 6-year event-free survival (EFS) of approximately 28% and overall survival (OS) of approximately 30%.[2,3] For patients with lung/pleural metastases only, 6-year EFS is approximately 40% when utilizing bilateral lung irradiation.[2,4] In contrast, patients with bone/bone marrow metastases have...
There are many types of soft tissue sarcoma. The cells of each type of sarcoma look different under a microscope, based on the type of soft tissue in which the cancer began.
See the following PDQ summaries for more information on soft tissue sarcomas:
Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcoma Treatment
Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors Treatment
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Treatment
Kaposi Sarcoma Treatment
Uterine Sarcoma Treatment
Having certain inherited disorders can increase the risk of adult soft tissue sarcoma.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for soft tissue sarcoma include the following inherited disorders:
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1; von Recklinghausen disease).
Being exposed to certain chemicals, such as Thorotrast (thorium dioxide), vinyl chloride, or arsenic.
Having swelling (lymphedema) in the arms or legs for a long time.
Possible signs of adult soft tissue sarcoma include a lump or swelling in soft tissue of the body.
A sarcoma may appear as a painless lump under the skin, often on an arm or a leg. Sarcomas that begin in the abdomen may not cause symptoms until they become very large. As the sarcoma grows larger and presses on nearby organs, nerves, muscles, or blood vessels, symptoms may include:
Other conditions may cause the same symptoms that soft tissue sarcoma does. Check with your doctor if you have any of these problems.
Adult soft tissue sarcoma is diagnosed with a biopsy.
If your doctor thinks you may have a soft tissue sarcoma, a biopsy will be done. The type of biopsy will be based on the size of the tumor and where it is in the body. There are three types of biopsy that may be used:
Incisional biopsy: The removal of part of a lump or a sample of tissue.
Core biopsy: The removal of tissue using a wide needle.
Excisional biopsy: The removal of an entire lump or area of tissue that doesn't look normal.