Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center’s expert staff is committed to providing personalized care for our sarcoma patients. You can count on our leading sarcoma specialists to provide their expertise throughout your treatment and recovery.
Sarcoma is a type of cancer that starts in the tissues of the body. While there are about 70 different types of sarcomas, they are characterized by two main types – bone and soft tissue sarcoma.
Soft tissue sarcomas develop in soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels or deep skin tissues. They can be found in any part of the body with the majority starting in the arms or legs. They can also be found in the trunk, head and neck, internal organs and the areas in the back of the abdominal cavity (known as the retroperitoneum). Sarcomas that start in the bones (called osteosarcomas) are most often found in children.
Although sarcoma is a rare form of cancer, both children and adults can develop the disease.
While the exact causes of sarcomas are unknown, family history, Paget’s disease, certain genetic disorders or exposure to radiations or chemicals can increase your risk of developing sarcoma.
Soft tissue sarcomas can be difficult to spot as they can grow in any part of the body. Approximately half of soft tissue sarcomas start in an arm or leg. Typically, the first sign is a lump that may or may not hurt.
Sarcomas found in the back of the abdomen (retroperitoneum) produce symptoms that develop from problems the tumor is causing (blockage or bleeding of the stomach or bowels, pressing on nerves or blood vessels or nearby organs). They may grow large enough for the tumor to be felt in the abdomen.
In rare cases, sarcomas can start in the chest or in the head or neck area.
If you have any of these problems, see a doctor right away:
These symptoms are more often caused by things other than sarcoma. It is important to speak to your doctor as they may signal other health problems.
Osteosarcoma (sarcoma in the bone), however, can show early and obvious symptoms, including:
Sarcomas are categorized into two main types: soft tissue and bone sarcoma. These are then subcategorized into about 70 sarcoma subtypes.
The most common soft tissue sarcomas include:
The most common type of bone cancer is osteosarcoma.
If you think you may have sarcoma, the doctors at Banner MD Anderson will perform routine tests. These tests will help your doctor asses if you have sarcoma and how far it has spread.
Sarcoma treatments usually include chemotherapy, radiation treatment and surgery. The multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists at Banner MD Anderson can diagnose and help find support for all sarcoma treatments.