As with any cancer, an early and accurate diagnosis is critical to treating sarcoma. Since sarcomas are complex and can develop almost anywhere in the body, they can be difficult to diagnose. However, it is important to have an accurate diagnosis of the type and extent of sarcoma before beginning treatment.
A wrong diagnosis may actually be harmful and can reduce the success of therapeutic intervention. A biopsy that is not done correctly can make treatment more difficult. Therefore, it is recommended that the surgeon who performs the biopsy also removes the tumor.
The only way to be certain a tumor is sarcoma is through a biopsy, which removes a small number of cells to examine under a microscope.
Depending on location of the tumor, one of the following types of biopsy may be done:
Imaging tests may be used before or after biopsy to determine the location and extent of the tumor. Imaging tests commonly used to diagnose sarcoma include: