Recognizing the Symptoms of Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Have you noticed an unusual growth on your body? It could be nothing, but knowing for sure that the growth is benign and noncancerous is essential for a long and healthy life. Soft tissue sarcoma only accounts for a small percentage of cancers across the board, but it can be just as life-threatening.

Trevan Fischer, MD, is a surgeon who specializes in the removal and treatment of a variety of cancers, and can help you if you have soft tissue sarcoma. If you have a growth or mass, seek medical attention at our Santa Monica, California, office.

What is soft tissue sarcoma, and who has it?

The term “soft tissue sarcoma” applies to nearly 100 types of cancers. What these cancers have in common is where they grow: on or inside muscle, blood vessels, or fat. These tumors also can arise in cartilage, lymph nodes, and fibrous tissue, like tendons.

Soft tissue sarcomas manifest in tumors that may appear in your arms, legs, or abdomen. In rare cases, these tumors can go undetected by the person who has them.

According to the John Wayne Cancer Institute, soft tissue sarcoma accounts for around 1% of adult cancers, and just over 10% of childhood cancers. The most common of the childhood soft tissue sarcomas is rhabdomyosarcoma, a tumor that grows on skeletal muscle. For adults, the most common soft tissue sarcoma is leiomyosarcoma, which grows on smooth muscle tissue in the abdomen, near the pelvis, and on blood vessels. 

How do I recognize the symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma?

A soft tissue sarcoma generally appears as a lump somewhere on your body. Although arms and legs are the typical sites, you may find lumps on your abdomen, head, neck, and chest.

For soft tissue sarcomas in your abdomen, you may notice that your stool contains blood or is black and runny. If your soft tissue sarcoma isn’t on your abdomen, the lump elsewhere on your body may become evident when it begins to cause pain by pressing on nerves or muscles. 

Pay attention to all parts of your body. Women should be mindful of their breasts and underarms for the presence of lumps, but everyone should look for lumps or lesions you’ve never seen before. To catch this cancer before it progresses past any treatable stage, schedule regular screenings.

It’s natural for your body to produce benign tumors that can be easily removed or reduced through noninvasive procedures. Even cancerous soft tissue sarcoma may initially appear small and painless. If your lump is located deep in a muscle, or comes back after a removal, call us so that we can help you.

What happens if I have it?

The treatment process for soft tissue sarcomas can be relatively easy, but it always begins with a firm diagnosis and involves surgery to remove the tumor. Treatment and healing time varies — soft tissue sarcoma is so varied that no two cases are exactly the same. Dr. Fischer walks you through the process so you know what to expect.

If you notice a mysterious lump, call us or use the online tool to schedule an appointment immediately. With plenty of medical guidance, the right treatment, and a helpful staff, your health is handled with the utmost care.

Trevan Fischer

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