What Is Soft Tissue Sarcoma
Soft tissue sarcoma is a cancerous tumour that starts in the cells of the bodys soft tissues. A cancerous tumour is a group of cancer cells that can grow into nearby tissue and destroy it. The tumour can also spread to other parts of the body.
There are many types of soft tissue throughout the body, including fat, muscle, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, lymph vessels and nerves. Soft tissues surround, support and connect organs and other tissues in the body.
Cells in soft tissues sometimes change and no longer grow or behave normally. These changes may lead to non-cancerous tumours such as lipomas and hemangiomas.
But in some cases, changes to soft tissue cells can cause a type of cancer called soft tissue sarcoma. There are many different types of soft tissue sarcoma. They are named based on where the cancer started. Some of the more common types are liposarcoma, myxofibrosarcoma and leiomyosarcoma.
Soft tissue sarcomas can develop anywhere in the body. More than half develop in an arm or leg. Others usually develop in the abdomen, chest or head and neck area.
Sarcomas can also develop in the bone, such as chondrosarcoma and osteosarcoma. They are very different than soft tissue sarcomas. Find more about .
What Are The Clinical Signs Of Soft Tissue Sarcomas
The clinical signs your pet may have depend on where the tumor is located. Because these tumors arise virtually in any part of the body, signs vary greatly depending on the tissues that are affected. Often, pets have a noticeable mass that is growing in size.
Signs related to soft tissue sarcomas include the following:
- Pets that have tumors arising from muscle tissue may show signs of pain in the affected region and may have a distinct firm and growing mass .
- Tumors that are located on the limbs may cause changes in your pets ability to walk and the limbs may have obvious swelling.
- Pets that have tumors arising from nervous tissue may be unable to use the affected limb or may show other neurological signs.
- Pets with intestinal tumors may have signs of an intestinal blockage such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, and abdominal pain.
- Pets with soft tissue sarcomas in the mouth often have bad breath , difficulty eating, loss of appetite, bleeding in the mouth, or obvious tumors in the mouth.
- Signs of a soft tissue sarcoma affecting the reproductive system depend on the location of the tumor. For example, if the prostate is affected, difficult urinating or defecating may be noted.
Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma
Alveolar soft part sarcoma is a rare, slow growing tumor that can spread to the lungs and then the brain. This cancer may be painless and cause no symptoms until its advanced. The legs and buttocks are the most common location of these tumors, although they may also occur on the head and neck.
The development of alveolar soft part sarcoma is associated with a rearrangement of the genetic material in the tumor cells chromosomes that doctors use to help diagnose the cancer.
Surgery can result in a remission, but some tumors may come back afterward and spread. Alveolar soft part sarcoma does not respond to chemotherapy, but targeted medications may help treat tumors that have spread.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Main Cause Of Skin Cancer
Soft Tissue Sarcomas In Children
Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children, accounting for more than half of pediatric soft tissue sarcoma cases. Rhabdomyosarcomas occur in the muscles, primarily in the head and neck region. There is a slightly higher incidence of rhabdomyosarcoma among boys. In addition, there is a higher incidence of the disease among children exposed to chemicals and chemical pollution. Also, theres a higher incidence of rhabdomyosarcoma if a childs father smokes cigarettes.
Rhabdomyosarcomas are classified into two main types:
Embryonal.;most frequently seen in the head and neck area, bladder, vagina and prostate and testicles
Alveolar.;a more aggressive form of the disease most often found in the large muscles of the arms, legs, and trunk
How Do These Tumors Typically Progress
This is entirely dependent on location and the grade of the tumor. Typically, the higher the grade the more likely that spread is possible. However, one of the biggest concerns with soft tissue sarcomas is their ability to invade the local surrounding tissues. They can almost be described as an octopus where the bulk of the tumor is the head, and the microscopic cells that invade the surrounding tissue are like small tentacles. These tentacles become challenging to treat when managing your pets tumor, either by surgery or radiation therapy.
You May Like: What Are The 4 Types Of Melanoma
Recovery Of Soft Tissue Cancer In Cats
If your cat has undergone surgery, at-home care will be required during the healing process. The incision site will have to be kept clean and monitored for signs of infection. Prevent the cat from licking or scratching at stitches. A post-surgical check-up appointment will be needed to evaluate the success of the surgery.;
Soft tissue tumors have a tendency to grow back due to the difficult areas and shapes that they develop in. The overall prognosis worsens with each recurring growth. If a complete surgical removal has been performed, the cat’s lifespan may be increased five or more years. Even if radiation therapy alone has been administered, the cat may live at least a year longer than without treatment. Long-term control of soft tissue sarcoma, or complete cure, is possible.;
*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.
Soft Tissue Cancer Average Cost
From 447 quotes ranging from $3,000 – $8,000
Treating Soft Tissue Sarcomas
If you’re diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma your care team of specialist doctors and nurses will help you decide on the most appropriate treatment.
Treatment depends on factors such as the stage and grade of the cancer, the location of any tumours, and your age and general health.
The main treatments used are:
- surgery to remove any tumours
- radiotherapy where high-energy radiation is used to kill cancer cells
- chemotherapy where medication is used to kill cancer cells
These treatments are described in more detail below.
Read Also: What Are The Early Stages Of Melanoma
What Is The Prognosis
Soft tissue sarcomas that are low to intermediate grade and can be removed completely with aggressive surgery have an excellent long term prognosis. Control rates for low grade soft tissue sarcomas that are incompletely excised and followed by radiation therapy are also very good. Approximately 85% of these patients are tumor free three years after treatment. By comparison, the majority of dogs with incompletely excised soft tissue sarcomas that receive surgery without follow-up radiation will regrow by one year.
For high-grade sarcomas, the long-term prognosis is more guarded. Chemotherapy is indicated to help delay the onset of metastasis, however, the median survival time for these patients is approximately one year.
The best time to treat a soft tissue sarcoma is the very first time it occurs.
University of Florida
Prognosis Of Soft Tissue Sarcoma
It is not possible for a doctor to predict the exact course of a disease, as it will depend on each person’s individual circumstances. However, your doctor may give you a prognosis, the likely outcome of the disease, based on the type of breast cancer you have, the test results, the rate of tumour growth, as well as your age,;fitness;and medical history.;
Recommended Reading: What Are The Types Of Skin Cancer
How Is Synovial Sarcoma Treated
Treatment for synovial sarcoma depends on whether it has spread. Given that synovial sarcoma can grow for a while before it is found, there is a greater chance that it will spread to other parts of the body.
Surgery: Surgery is the first choice of treatment for synovial sarcomas. When all of the tumor is removed and there is no sign of cancer anywhere else in the body,;there is;a better chance of survival. Success of the surgery depends on the size of the tumor and its location in the body.
Radiation therapy: Sometimes radiation therapy is used before or after surgery to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy may be used when synovial sarcoma cannot be completely removed by surgery or when it has spread. You should discuss the benefits and risks of chemotherapy with your doctors.
Symptoms Of Soft Tissue Cancer In Cats
In the early stages of soft tissue sarcoma, there may be no symptoms at all. The first sign to arise is the development of a small bump under the skin anywhere on the cat’s abdomen, limbs or inside of its mouth. The symptoms that follow as the cancer progresses will have very much to do with the type of soft tissue that the tumors have formed on. Possible symptoms include:
- Firm lump under skin;
Diagnosis Of Soft Tissue Sarcoma
If your doctor thinks that you may have a soft tissue sarcoma, they will take your medical history, perform a physical examination ;and carry out certain tests.;;
If the results suggest that you may have sarcoma, your doctor will refer you to a specialist who will carry out more tests. These may include:;
What Is A Soft Tissue Sarcoma
Cancer starts when cells start to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer and can spread to other areas. To learn more about how cancers start and spread, see What Is Cancer?
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.
When the word sarcoma is part of the name of a disease, it means the tumor is malignant .A sarcoma is a type of cancer that starts in tissues like bone or muscle. Bone and soft tissue sarcomas are the main types of sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop in soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. They can be found in any part of the body. Most of them start in the arms or legs. They can also be found in the trunk, head and neck area, internal organs, and the area in back of the abdominal cavity . Sarcomas are not common tumors.
Adult Soft Tissue Sarcoma Is A Disease In Which Malignant Cells Form In The Soft Tissues Of The Body
The soft tissues of the body include the muscles, tendons , 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, abdomen, and retroperitoneum.
See the following PDQ summaries for more information on soft tissue sarcomas:
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 doesnt look normal.
Samples will be taken from the primary tumor, lymph nodes, and other suspicious areas. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells and to find out the grade of the tumor. The grade of a tumor depends on how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the cells are dividing. High-grade tumors usually grow and spread more quickly than low-grade tumors.
Because soft tissue sarcoma can be hard to diagnose, patients should ask to have tissue samples checked by a pathologist who has experience in diagnosing soft tissue sarcoma.
The following tests may be done on the tissue that was removed:
Treatments For Soft Tissue Sarcomas
People with a soft tissue sarcoma are cared for by a team of doctors and nurses at specialist centres who will help to plan the most appropriate treatment.
The best treatment depends on things such as where the cancer developed, the type of sarcoma it is, how far it has spread, your age and your general health.
The main treatments are:
- surgery;to remove any tumour
- radiotherapy; where high-energy radiation is used to kill cancer cells
- chemotherapy and other medicines to kill the cancer cells
A Sign Of Adult Soft Tissue Sarcoma Is 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 signs or symptoms until they get very big. As the sarcoma grows bigger and presses on nearby organs, nerves, muscles, or blood vessels, signs and symptoms may include:
- Trouble breathing.
Other conditions may cause the same signs and symptoms. Check with your doctor if you have any of these problems.
Symptoms Of Soft Tissue Sarcoma
The symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma depend on the part of the body that is affected. The main symptom is a lump or swelling. For example, a lump in the leg or arm, or other part of the body, that is:
- getting bigger
- bigger than 5cm about the size of a golf ball
- painful or tender.
Most soft tissue lumps are not cancer. But if you notice any of these symptoms, get them checked by your GP.We have more information about symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma.
Commonly Used Treatment Options By Cancer Stage
Your care team can recommend treatments based on the sarcomas stage, which represents both the size of the cancer and its likelihood to spread to other parts of the body.
Stage 1 sarcoma: Sarcomas can usually be removed with surgery at this stage. Sometimes, radiation;may also be used, before and/or after surgery.
Stage 2 sarcoma: These sarcomas are more likely to spread, which means theres an emphasis on both removing the tumors and reducing the risk of recurrence. Often, both surgery and radiation are used.
Stage 3 sarcoma: This cancer may be larger and more likely to have spread into the lymph nodes. Treatment options at this stage vary, but may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and, if its spread into the lymph nodes, the surgical removal of the lymph nodes, known as a lymphadenectomy.
Stage 4 sarcoma: Also known as metastatic sarcoma, this cancer has spread farther away to other areas of the body. Treatment plans may include chemotherapy, targeted therapy and clinical trials. Surgery is also used for this type of cancer, particularly when its spread into the lungs. Treatments in stage 4 arent necessarily curative but rather palliative, providing an easing of symptoms so the patient may live more comfortably. If you have metastatic cancer, take your time to make a decision on your treatment and consider a second opinion from another doctor.
Survival Rate Of Soft Tissue Sarcoma:
The overall survival rate of the soft tissue sarcoma is better than other cancer forms. The survival rate counted on the basis of 5 year survival has found that almost 90 % of the patientâs diagnosed in the Stage A have survived for 5 or more years. However the rate decreases to 75 % for the Stage B and 56 % for the early Stage C of the disease.
Articles On Soft Tissue Sarcoma
Soft tissue sarcomas are a group of cancers that grow in parts of your body such as your muscles, bones, deep layers of skin, or in fat. They also can form on blood vessels, nerves, or connective tissues, which support organs and other kinds of tissues.
Soft tissue sarcomas are rare. They account for less than 1% of all cases of cancer. But there are dozens of different types, and they can happen in children and adults.
About 13,000 people are diagnosed with one of these cancers every year.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Finding out that you have soft tissue sarcoma may change some things about your life. Surgery and other types of treatment might change how you feel about yourself and your body. Some also can affect your sex life and your ability to have children.
Having cancer can take a toll on you mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. Each person is different, but a lot of people deal with feelings of fear, anger, uncertainty, and stress. These feelings can take a toll on your loved ones as well. If those feelings are hard to handle, talk with your doctors, a counselor, clergy member, or friends.
During treatment, try to eat a healthy diet and get as much rest as you can. You may feel weak, so ask your doctors about exercises that may help you keep up your energy.