Soft Tissue Cancer
Sarcoma is a type of cancer affecting bones and soft tissues. These tissues include muscles, tendons, fibrous tissues, fat, blood vessels, nerves, and synovial tissues. Sarcoma that has spread from the bone or soft tissue to another part of the body is called advanced or stage IV disease cancer.
Sarcoma can be caused due to radiation while multiple environmental and genetic risk factors cause Sarcoma. Sometimes it is caused because of the family history.
Signs or Symptoms are dependent on where in the body the sarcoma develops.
In the Soft Tissue:
- Mass or lump, with or without swelling, and in some cases causing pain
- If the cancer is present in the abdomen, it can cause belly or back pain
- Sarcoma in the gastrointestinal tract can cause diarrhea, constipation, blood in stool, or abdominal pain
- Uterine sarcoma can cause vaginal bleeding, swelling, or pain in the pelvic area
In the Bone:
- Pain, with or without a mass that can be felt
This rare cancer needs very experienced treatment. Some of the following tests that will be recommended by your doctor are the following:
- PET scan
The tests that are done depending on where the suspected sarcoma is.
To guide treatment, sarcoma is “staged.” This stage is based on:
- Size of the tumor
- Histologic grade (how different the cells looks compared to normal cells)
- Whether cancer cells are in the lymph nodes or other parts of the body
Stages range from stage I (more limited disease) to stage IV (advanced disease).
Treatment plans depend upon the size and location of the tumor, the grade (aggressiveness), and whether or not it has spread. Each case of sarcoma is unique and will be treated differently.
Below are general treatments used to treat sarcoma:
- Surgery to remove the tumor, which may include amputation if the sarcoma is in a leg or arm.
- Radiation can be done before, during, or after surgery to kill cancer cells and prevent recurrence (cancer from coming back).
- Chemotherapy may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor to make surgery easier, or after surgery to prevent a recurrence.