Soft tissue sarcomas are 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 tissues are components of the body that are not bone, such as muscle, fibrous tissues, vessels, fat, joints, nerves, and skin.

Symptoms of soft tissue sarcomas can vary depending on the exact location of the cancer. A common symptom is the existence of a painless lump or swelling. If the sarcoma is found in certain parts of the body, like the stomach, it could cause abdominal pain.

The causes of soft tissue sarcomas are often unclear but there are certain factors which increase the risk such as exposure to certain kinds of chemicals, a history of radiation therapy, and certain inherited diseases. For correct diagnosis and effective treatment, it’s always crucial to consult with a healthcare professional.

Soft tissues sarcoma

Causes of Soft tissue sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas are a type of cancer that arise in the soft tissues of the body, which include fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or other supporting tissues of the body. The exact cause of soft tissue sarcomas is generally not known, but certain factors are known to increase the risk.

1. Genetic Disorders: Certain inherited disorders can increase the chance of developing soft tissue sarcomas. These include neurofibromatosis, retinoblastoma, and Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

2. Chemical Exposure: Exposure to certain chemicals has been linked to an increased risk of soft tissue sarcomas. Those include vinyl chloride, dioxin, and herbicides containing phenoxyacetic acid.

3. Radiation Exposure: Prior radiation treatment for other types of cancer can increase the risk of developing a soft tissue sarcoma later. This also includes exposure to radioactive materials or atomic bomb radiation.

4. Immunosuppression: Patients who have had an organ transplant and are receiving medicines to suppress their immune system have an increased risk of developing sarcoma.

5. Viral infection: Certain viruses, like Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), can increase the risk of Kaposi’s sarcoma, a specific type of soft tissue sarcoma.

While these factors can increase one’s risk, having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean a person will get soft tissue sarcoma. Many people with these risk factors never develop the disease, and many people who do have soft tissue sarcomas have no known risk factors.

Risk Factors of Soft tissue sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas are a rare type of cancer that begin in the soft tissues of the body such as the muscles, tendons, fat, lymph and blood vessels, nerves, and the lining of your joints. While the exact cause of soft tissue sarcomas is not known, certain factors can increase the risk of developing this disease. Below are several risk factors of soft tissue sarcomas.

1. Genetic Disorders: Certain inherited disorders can increase your chance of developing soft tissue sarcomas. These include neurofibromatosis, Gardner syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, and retinoblastoma.

2. Chemical Exposure: Exposure to certain chemicals may increase your risk of soft tissue sarcomas. These include exposure to vinyl chloride (used in plastics industry), arsenic, dioxin, and a family of chemicals called phenoxyacetic acids (used in production of herbicides and chlorophenols).

3. Radiation Exposure: Persons that have been exposed to radiation, whether for a previous cancer treatment or radiation fallout, are at an elevated risk.

4. Age: Soft tissue sarcomas can occur at any age, but they are more common in adults over the age of 50.

5. Viral Infection: Certain viral infections like Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Human Herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) can also increase the risk of certain types of soft tissue sarcomas.

6. Lymphedema: This condition causes a blockage in your lymphatic system, leading to swelling in your arms or legs. This could be a potential risk factor for developing soft tissue sarcomas.

It’s important to remember that having one or more risk factors does not necessarily mean that a person will develop soft tissue sarcomas, and many people with these risk factors never develop the disease. If you have concerns about any of these risk factors, you should consult your doctor.

Signs and Symptoms of Soft tissue sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas are a rare type of cancer that begin in the tissues that connect, support and surround other body structures. They can occur almost anywhere in the body, including the muscles, tendons, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves and tissue around the joints. The symptoms of soft tissue sarcomas can vary, but they generally depend on the size and location of the cancer. Here are some of the signs and symptoms:

1. A noticeable lump or swelling: This is often the first sign of a soft tissue sarcoma. The lump may or may not be painful, and it can rapidly increase in size.

2. Pain: If the sarcoma is located near nerves or is pressing on them, it can cause pain. If the sarcoma is in the abdomen, it might not cause symptoms until it has grown quite large and can cause abdominal pain.

3. Trouble breathing or chest pain: In cases where the sarcoma starts in the chest, these symptoms may occur.

4. Abdominal discomfort or bloating: If the sarcoma is located in the gastrointestinal tract, symptoms may include abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, or feelings of fullness.

5. Neurological problems: If a sarcoma compresses nerves or the spinal cord, it can cause symptoms such as weakness, numbness or difficulty with movement.

6. Changes in bodily functions: Depending on the location of the sarcoma, it could interfere with urinary and bowel functions.

7. Fatigue: A general feeling of being unwell or fatigue can also be associated with cancer.

8. Unexplained weight loss: This is a common symptom in people with various types of cancer, including sarcoma.

Please note that many of these symptoms can also be caused by conditions other than soft tissue sarcomas. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and they persist, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis.

Diagnosis Soft tissue sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas are a rare type of cancer that begin in the soft tissues, which include the muscles, tendons, fat, lymph vessels, blood vessels, nerves, and tissues around joints. These are different from sarcomas of the bone, which are a separate type of cancer.

Diagnosis of soft tissue sarcomas often begins with a physical examination, including a discussion about your health history and symptoms. Your doctor will also likely order imaging tests such as MRI, CT, or PET scans, or an ultrasound to get a better look at the suspected area.

The definitive diagnosis of soft tissue sarcomas, however, usually requires a biopsy. This involves removing a small sample of the tissue from the tumor, which is then examined under a microscope by a pathologist to confirm whether cancer cells are present, identify the type of cells, and grade the aggressiveness of the tumor. This information is crucial in determining the best treatment plan.

Sometimes, a blood test is used to rule out other conditions that might cause similar symptoms, and a genetic testing might be performed to find out if the patient has any inherited gene mutations that might increase the risk of soft tissue sarcomas.

In some cases, after a soft tissue sarcoma has been diagnosed, more tests maybe done to find out if cancer has spread. This is known as staging. Knowing the stage of the cancer helps doctors to decide on the best treatment.

Remember, early detection and accurate diagnosis greatly increase the chances of successful treatment and recovery from soft tissue sarcomas. Always consult with a medical professional if you have any concerning symptoms.

Treatment of Soft tissue sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas are a rare type of cancer that begin in the tissues that connect, support and surround other body structures, like muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and the lining of your joints. Treatment for soft tissue sarcomas depends on the sarcoma’s type, location, size, and grade, as well as the patient’s overall health. Here are some of the common treatment methods:

1. Surgery: This is the most common treatment for soft tissue sarcomas. The aim is to remove the cancerous tumor along with a portion of healthy tissue around it.

2. Radiation Therapy: This treatment uses high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. It can be applied externally or can be placed inside the body near the cancer (brachytherapy).

3. Chemotherapy: This uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It can be given through a vein, in pill form, or both. It’s often used if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

4. Targeted Therapy: This treatment involves using drugs that target specific weaknesses present within cancer cells. By specifically targeting these weaknesses, the cancer cells can be killed or their growth can be stopped or slowed.

5. Immunotherapy: This uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or in a laboratory are used to bolster, target, or restore immune system function.

Doctors might choose to use one or a combination of these treatments. Decisions about which treatment or combination of treatments to use are made based on the specifics of each individual case.

Medications commonly used for Soft tissue sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas are a relatively rare type of cancer that forms in the soft tissues of the body, including muscles, tendons, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, and tissue around joints. Various medications are used to treat soft tissue sarcomas, often alongside other treatments like surgery and radiation. Here are some of the most commonly used medications:

1. Chemotherapy Drugs: These are often the first-line treatment for soft tissue sarcomas and are used to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. They include:
Doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
Epirubicin
Ifosfamide
Gemcitabine
Dacarbazine (DTIC)
Docetaxel (Taxotere)
Paclitaxel (Taxol)

2. Targeted Therapy Drugs: These drugs target specific parts or functions of cancer cells to inhibit their growth. One prominent example is Pazopanib (Votrient), which is used for advanced soft tissue sarcoma.

3. Immunotherapy Drugs: They harness the body’s immune system to fight cancer. An example of this is the checkpoint inhibitor drug Pembrolizumab (Keytruda), used for some cases of advanced sarcoma.

4. Radiosensitizers: These drugs make tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment. They are often used in combination with radiation therapy.

It is important to note that the specific medications used may vary depending on the specifics of the patient’s condition, including the type and stage of the sarcoma, the patient’s overall health, and other factors. All treatments carry potential side effects and should be discussed thoroughly with the healthcare team. Always consult with medical professionals for accurate information.

Prevention of Soft tissue sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas are a group of rare cancers affecting the tissues which connect support or surround other structures and organs of the body. These include muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and the lining of your joints.

Currently, there’s no definitive way to prevent soft tissue sarcomas because most of the risk factors (like having certain inherited syndromes or changes in the DNA of cells) are beyond your control. However, you may be able to reduce your risk to certain extent by adopting healthy habits and avoiding exposure to certain environmental factors. Here are some general prevention tips:

1. Avoid Carcinogens: Certain chemicals or environmental factors have been associated with an increased risk of soft tissue sarcomas. Make sure to be aware and use protection if you are in areas that are known to have higher exposure to these carcinogens, such as certain industries like vinyl chloride manufacturing or herbicide application.

2. Promote Healthy Living: General good health practices can help your body fight off cancers, including soft tissue sarcomas. This includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and getting adequate sleep.

Soft tissue sarcoma

3. Regular Medical Check-ups: Regular medical check-ups are crucial as they can assist in the early detection and treatment of soft tissue sarcomas. People with inherited syndromes or family history of soft tissue sarcomas should have regular tests to identify these tumors as early as possible.

4. Limit exposure to radiation: While it’s often not possible to avoid radiation treatment if you need it for a medical condition, try to reduce any unnecessary exposure to radiation.

5. Limit Alcohol and Quit Smoking: While there’s no direct link established between soft tissue sarcoma and smoking or alcohol, it’s worth noting that both these factors increase risks for many other types of cancers and diseases.

Remember, even with these measures, there’s no certain way to prevent soft tissue sarcomas. Therefore, a good understanding of the potential symptoms, regular self-examination and prompt medical attention when something seems amiss can be crucial in identifying this disease at an early, more treatable stage.

FAQ’s about Soft tissue sarcomas

1. What are Soft Tissue Sarcomas?
Soft tissue sarcomas are 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.

2. How common are Soft Tissue Sarcomas?
Soft tissue sarcomas are uncommon. They make up less than 1% of all new cancer cases each year.

3. What are the symptoms of Soft Tissue Sarcomas?
Common signs and symptoms may include a noticeable lump or swelling, pain, if the tumor presses against nerves or muscles, and trouble breathing if the sarcoma is in the chest.

4. What causes Soft Tissue Sarcomas?
The exact cause of soft tissue sarcomas is not known. However, certain genetic conditions and exposure to radiation therapy may increase your risk.

5. How are Soft Tissue Sarcomas diagnosed?
Doctors may use a biopsy, in which a small sample of tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. Imaging tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, MRI or PET scan could also be used for diagnosis.

6. What are the treatment options for Soft Tissue Sarcomas?
Treatment options typically involve a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The best approach depends on the specific type and stage of the sarcoma.

7. How can I reduce my risk of getting Soft Tissue Sarcomas?
Since the exact cause is not known, there’s no definitive way to prevent soft tissue sarcomas. However, reducing your exposure to radiation and avoiding certain chemical exposures may lower your risk.

8. What is the prognosis for Soft Tissue Sarcomas?
Prognosis depends largely on the type and stage of the cancer at diagnosis. Some types can be cured if caught early, but others may be more aggressive and challenging to treat.

9. Can Soft Tissue Sarcomas come back after treatment?
Yes, there’s a chance of recurrence. Recurrence can occur locally, in the same area as the original tumor, or it can occur somewhere else in the body.

10. Are soft tissue sarcomas contagious?
No, you cannot catch or transmit cancer, including soft tissue sarcomas, to other people. Cancer is a result of changes (mutations) in your cells that cause uncontrolled growth and division.

Remember to discuss with your healthcare provider for more detailed information catered to your situation.

Useful links

Soft tissue sarcomas are a group of rare cancers affecting the tissues that surround other structures and organs within your body. These tissues include fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, deep skin tissues, and blood vessels.

Here are some useful resources from medical journals and reputable cancer websites:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34780385/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35167005/

Please consult your health care provider or a medical professional for advice related to these resources and your health care needs. Reading articles alone is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Complications of Soft tissue sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas are a type of cancer that begins in the soft tissues of your body, which include muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and the lining of your joints. Despite being relatively rare, they can result in several serious complications:

1. Metastasis: This is one of the biggest concerns for any type of cancer. It occurs when the cancer spreads from the location where it started to other parts of the body. Several factors can determine how likely this is, including the size of the tumor, how fast it’s growing, and the grade of the tumor (how abnormal it appears under a microscope). Soft tissue sarcomas most often spread to the lungs.

2. Local Recurrence: Even after successful treatment, soft tissue sarcomas can come back in the same area. This is often discovered during routine follow-up appointments. It’s another reason why regular check-ups are important after treatment.

3. Physical Limitations: Depending on where the sarcoma is located, it can limit physical function. For example, if it’s in an arm or leg, you might have difficulty moving that limb. If it’s in the abdomen, it might cause discomfort or bloating.

4. Pain: Depending on the tumor size and location, soft tissue sarcomas can cause severe pain.

5. Emotional and psychological distress: A diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma, like any other cancer diagnosis, can lead to significant emotional and psychological stress. Depression and anxiety are common among cancer patients.

6. Side effects from treatment: Treatment modalities like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation also come with their own risks and side effects. These can include pain, fatigue, nausea, altered sensation, lymphedema (swelling caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system), infertility, and secondary cancers.

These potential complications make early detection, treatment, and long-term follow-up important with soft tissue sarcomas.

Home remedies of Soft tissue sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas are a type of cancer that form 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.

Treatment for soft tissue sarcomas usually involves surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. However, there are some natural remedies or lifestyle changes that can help manage the symptoms and side effects of treatment. Please note, these should be used in conjunction with, not in place of, professional medical advice:

1. Healthy diet: A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help your body recover more quickly, manage weight, and improve energy levels.

2. Regular exercise: Physical activity can help manage some of the side effects of treatment, like fatigue and anxiety.

3. Emotional Support: Counseling or joining a support group can help with the emotional stress related to the disease.

4. Stay Hydrated: Drinking water frequently helps in flushing out toxins from your body.

5. Rest: Make sure you have regular good quality sleep. It will lessen symptoms such as pain and fatigue.

6. Reduce Stress: Engage in stress-reducing practices such as meditation, yoga, journaling, or engaging in hobbies you love.

Again, these suggestions are not a cure or direct treatment for soft tissue sarcomas, they are meant for managing its symptoms or side effects. Always consult with your healthcare provider first before making any changes to your treatment plan.

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Last Update: January 13, 2024