Soft tissue sarcoma

What is soft tissue sarcoma?
Soft tissue sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body. As a result, it can develop virtually anywhere in the body, including the head and neck region, chest, abdomen, pelvis, arms and legs. Soft tissue sarcomas arise most commonly in the arms and legs. Soft tissue sarcoma is a very rare type of cancer, and only a limited number of centers in the world can deal effectively with such rare tumors. At KHCC, physicians are experienced in treating all types of soft tissue sarcoma.

What causes soft tissue sarcomas?
The exact cause of soft tissue sarcomas are not known, however some families have a genetic disposition which they pass on to their children. Certain genetic mutations and conditions may increase the risk of developing it. Past treatment with radiation therapy or anticancer drugs called alkylating agents can increase the risk as well.

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean that a person will definitely get soft tissue sarcoma.

What are the symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma?
Sarcomas may appear as a lump under the skin, most often on an arm or a leg. There might not be any symptoms until the tumor becomes very large, at which point patients start to feel pain as the tumor begins to press on nearby organs, muscles or nerves. Unlike bone sarcomas, pain is not a main symptom of soft tissue tumors.

How is soft tissue sarcoma diagnosed?
At KHCC soft tissue sarcoma is mainly diagnosed by performing a complete physical examination, as well as a biopsy.  A biopsy removes a sample of bone and tissue to further examine in a lab for abnormalities. An MRI of the affected limb is needed to evaluate the local extension of the disease, while a CT scan of the chest is needed to evaluate if any there is any spread of the cancer to the lungs. A bone scan is also needed to rule out spread to bone.

How is soft tissue sarcoma treated at KHCC?
The treating physician will present the case to the MDC panel who will determine the right treatment for the patient depending on how much the cancer has spread throughout the body.

Surgical removal of the tumor is the first line of treatment for soft tissue sarcomas at KHCC. Depending on the extent of the cancer, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be used in treatment.

At KHCC, soft tissue sarcoma patients receive top quality care through a multidisciplinary team of specialists highly experienced in treating all types of sarcoma
Supportive Care
The sarcoma multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that sarcoma patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include: