Soft tissue sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that begins in the tissues that connect, support and surround other body structures. This includes muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons and the lining of your joints.
Soft tissue sarcoma can occur anywhere in your body, but the most common types occur in the arms and legs, and in the abdomen. Surgical removal is the most common treatment, although radiation and chemotherapy also may be recommended — depending on the size, type, location and aggressiveness of the tumor.
There are many types of soft tissue tumors, and not all of them are cancerous. Many benign tumors are found in soft tissues. The word benign means they're not cancer. These tumors can't spread to other parts of the body. Some soft tissue tumors behave in ways between a cancer and a non-cancer. These are called intermediate soft tissue tumors.
Types of Soft Tissue Sarcomas
- • Adult fibrosarcoma usually affects fibrous tissue in the legs, arms, or trunk. It's most common in people between the ages of 20 and 60, but can occur in people of any age, even in infants.
- • Alveolar soft-part sarcoma is a rare cancer that mostly affects young adults. These tumors most commonly start in legs.
- • Angiosarcoma can start in blood vessels (hemangiosarcomas) or in lymph vessels (lymphangiosarcomas). These tumors sometimes start in a part of the body that has been treated with radiation Angiosarcomas are sometimes seen in the breast after radiation therapy and in limbs with lymphedema.
- • Clear cell sarcoma is a rare cancer that often starts in tendons of the arms or legs. Under the microscope, it has some features of malignant melanoma, a type of cancer that starts in pigment-producing skin cells. How cancers with these features start in parts of the body other than the skin is not known.
- • Desmoplastic small round cell tumor is a rare sarcoma of teens and young adults. It's found most often in the abdomen (belly).
- • Epithelioid sarcoma most often starts in tissues under the skin of the hands, forearms, feet, or lower legs. Teens and young adults are often affected.
- • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is a type of sarcoma that starts in the digestive tract. See Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) for more details.
The most common sign of a soft tissue sarcoma is a painless lump or growth. But some may not be noticeable until they’re big enough to press on nearby muscles or nerves. About 1 in 5 soft tissue sarcomas happen in the belly. You probably wouldn’t learn that you have one until they caused other problems, such as stomach pain, bleeding, or a blocked intestine. A doctor might find a sarcoma in your lungs or chest only after you have chest pain or trouble breathing.
Inherited syndromes :- A risk of soft tissue sarcoma can be inherited from your parents. Genetic syndromes that increase your risk include hereditary retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis and Werner syndrome.
Chemical exposure :- Being exposed to certain chemicals, such as herbicides, arsenic and dioxin, may increase the risk of soft tissue sarcomas.