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Soft Tissue Sarcoma – An Overview

Mar 29, 2017

Soft Tissue Sarcoma – An Overview

Soft tissue sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the connective tissue of the body i.e. the tissue connecting and supporting the organs in the body. The cancer may also target tissues that are not connective but are classified as soft tissue like nerves and blood vessels. Various kinds of soft tissue sarcoma exist based on which tissue they develop in, and while some are common in adults some also occur in children. The commonly affected areas are head, neck, arm, trunk and abdomen. Though relatively uncommon, soft tissue sarcoma still poses a threat. The most common risk factor associated with soft tissue sarcoma is inherited diseases. These include: • Retinoblastoma • Neurofibromatosis type 1 • Bourneville disease • Li-Fraumeni disease • Werner Syndrome • Gorlin syndrome Other risk factors include past exposure to radiation, certain chemicals like vinyl, chloride, or arsenic, etc. Like every other cancer, the early symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma go unnoticed. The case of this type of cancer is unique because being mainly connective tissue; soft tissues tend to be elastic, letting the tumors in the tissue grow big before they start causing hindrance. Usually, the condition presents itself the first time as a lump or a swelling under the skin, which is usually painless. This lump starts growing in size and then presses against the surrounding organs, nerves, muscles or blood vessels. This usually leads to pain and in some cases leads to trouble in breathing. As mentioned, this cancer does not present with symptoms in its early stages and hence goes undetected. But that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to detect it in the early stages. The earlier it is detected, the easier it is to treat. Getting regular check-ups and scans is a way of catching not only soft tissue sarcoma but any other type of cancer in its initial days. The treatment of the cancer depends on the type and stage of the soft tissue sarcoma. But in general, the first treatment used is surgery, where they try to remove the tumors out of the body to avoid spreading of the tumors. Other methods include chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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