Understanding Soft Tissue Sarcoma

“Cancer” is a scary, overwhelming word, one that’s better managed when you have a clear understanding of it. If you’re at risk for cancer – or have already been diagnosed – knowledge is one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal of defense. In this article, we focus on increasing your knowledge of the cancer known as soft tissue sarcoma, specifically, its definition, symptoms, and risk factors.

soft tissue sarcoma What is Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

The term “sarcoma” refers to cancer that stems from certain body tissues. Soft tissue sarcoma develops in soft tissues such as muscles, nerves, and fat. While this cancer can occur in any part of your body, it’s most commonly found in the arms and legs.

It’s important to note that there are several different types of soft tissue tumors, some of which are not cancerous. However, when a disease’s name contains the word “sarcoma,” it is malignant, or cancerous. In total, there are approximately 50 types of soft tissue sarcomas, a few of which are:

  • Adult fibrosarcoma
  • Clear cell sarcoma
  • Kaposi sarcoma
  • Malignant mesenchymoma
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor

What are the Symptoms?

Just as with any cancer, soft tissue sarcomas don’t cause noticeable symptoms right away. During the early stages, you may not even realize there’s a problem. However, as it grows, the soft tissue sarcoma can cause a lump, obvious swelling, or pain.

What are the Risk Factors?

While the exact cause of soft tissue sarcoma is unknown, there are a few risk factors that may help you and your doctor determine if you have developed the disease. These factors are:

  • Syndromes passed down genetically
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Prolonged exposure to radiation

Even if you have the above risk factors, you may never develop a sarcoma. There are other conditions that cause symptoms similar to those resulting from this type of cancer, so it’s crucial to see an orthopaedic specialist if you experience them. At Specialty Orthopaedic Surgery, we can properly diagnose your condition and guide you in the right direction for treatment. Contact us today to learn more.

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