Dr. Srimanth B S

Lead Consultant - Orthopaedic Onco Surgery

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Reviewed by

Dr. Srimanth B S

Lead Consultant - Orthopaedic Onco Surgery

Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road

Soft Tissue Sarcomas: Its Diagnosis And Treatment

Reviewed by:

Dr. Srimanth B S

Posted On: May 28, 2024

blogs read 6 Min Read

Soft Tissue Sarcomas: Symptoms, Types, Stages and Treatments

Soft tissue sarcoma is a rare cancer type that occurs in your body’s connective tissues. Think of connective tissues as the support system of your body. They hold the muscles, fat, nerves, blood vessels, and even the deeper layers of your skin. These sarcomas tend to be sneaky. They can show up anywhere from your arms and legs to your belly and or even the space behind it.

Being told you have a soft tissue sarcoma can really catch you off guard. It can be overwhelming to process. However, there are treatment options available. Knowing about these choices is key to taking control of your path to recovery. Let's delve into the details of soft tissue sarcoma cancer, and you can work with your doctor to create an effective treatment plan.


Diagnosing Soft Tissue Cancer: Symptoms

The earlier soft tissue sarcoma cancer is caught, the better it will be. An experienced oncologist will typically look for the following sarcoma cancer symptoms for initial detection:

  • Firm or tender growing lumps

  • Tenderness or pain in the affected area

  • Stiff joints

  • Sudden weight loss

  • Fatigue

Soft tissue cancers are often overlooked. This is because their symptoms can resemble those of less severe conditions. Hence, dedicated diagnostic tests are helpful.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) creates detailed images of soft tissue structures.

  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan creates cross-sectional images of your body.

  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan shows abnormal metabolic activity areas in your body.

When doctors spot something suspicious in your tissues, they want to take a closer look through a biopsy sample and examine it. A biopsy provides details on the cancer, its type, and how aggressive it is. 

Types of Soft Tissue Sarcoma:

The common sarcoma cancer types are: 

  • Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma: This fast-spreading cancer shows up in the legs, arms or chest.

  • Leiomyosarcoma: This cancer starts in smooth muscles like those in your belly, bladder, or intestines.

  • Liposarcoma: This typically originates in the belly but can also appear in the thighs and other areas.

  • Ewing sarcoma: Develops in tissues next to bones, mostly in teens (10-20). The 5-year survival rate is 76% for young children and 59% for teenagers.

  • Rhabdomyosarcoma: Rare cancer in teens/young adults, treatable but may recur. 70% survive 5 years.

Treatment for Soft Tissue Cancer

The fight against soft tissue sarcoma involves a multi-pronged approach. Let’s understand the different kinds of soft tissue sarcoma treatment options available. 


It is often the primary treatment approach. Surgeries usually aim to eliminate the tumour completely. Doctors also remove the surrounding healthy tissue to increase your probability of total recovery. The intricacy of this procedure may vary depending on your condition. 

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or some other radiation techniques. This method directly aims at cancer cells and eradicates them. Usually, doctors deliver external radiation beams to the tumour from outside the body. On the other hand, brachytherapy entails inserting radioactive implants directly into or close to the tumour for a more targeted approach.


Chemotherapy drugs act like tiny warriors – they travel throughout your body. They have the potential to destroy cancer cells wherever they hide. Chemotherapy can be utilised in two different ways.

  1. An oncology specialist can use these drugs before surgery (neoadjuvant). This allows them to shrink your tumour.

  2. After surgery (adjuvant), utilisation of chemo meds eliminates microscopic cancer cells. 

It is usually the primary treatment option for advanced stages of cancer. 


This takes a unique approach to treating cancer. Immunotherapy harnesses your own immunity to fight the disease. These drugs stimulate the natural defence mechanism of our body to attack cancer cells. This method is still in the development stages for soft tissue sarcomas. However, it does hold promising possibilities for the near future. 

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapies are a revolution in cancer treatment. These drugs work on specific genetic mutations or abnormalities within cancer cells. It can disrupt the growth and survival pathways of these cells. 

Consult our cancer care hospital in Bangalore if you need soft tissue sarcoma treatment.

Treatment by Stages

Various therapies may be advised based on the specific stage of sarcoma. Stage I to stage III sarcoma can often be cured, while stage IV or metastatic sarcoma can be managed with treatment.

  • Surgery is the most viable option during the first stage. If the treatment plan suggests, radiation therapy can also be employed before or after surgery.

  • Stage II of this cancer usually includes both surgery and radiation therapy. An expert oncologist will decide the suitable time for radiation therapy, depending on your condition.

  • During stage III, doctors usually prescribe both surgery and radiation therapy. These are usually followed by chemotherapy.

  • If your cancer has developed to stage IV, you must discuss all your available management options with your doctor. Sometimes, clinical trials can also become an approach. 

Moreover, supportive care services are essential for cancer patients. It helps them address both the physical and emotional impacts of treatment. 

  • Dietitians can assist in maintaining a healthy diet.

  • Physical therapists can help with rehabilitation exercises. This will allow you to regain strength and mobility.

  • Psychologists can offer emotional support in dealing with cancer challenges.

Soft tissue sarcomas come with unique challenges. But remember, you are not alone in this battle. There are several treatment options. You will have a team of experts from various fields by your side. They work together to provide you with the highest quality care. Converse with them regarding your treatment plan and consider all possible choices. Even though the path is difficult, there is still optimism for a better tomorrow.

Consult our top orthopaedic oncosurgeon at Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road for accurate diagnosis and treatment for soft tissue bone cancers.




As there are different treatment methods, the side effects of each approach are also different. For example:

  • Surgery: Pain, scar, infections, etc.

  • Radiation Therapy: Fatigue, skin irritation, swelling, etc.

  • Chemotherapy: Nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, etc.

You can discuss these issues with your doctor. They will help you with effective methods to deal with these conditions.

Yes, a healthy lifestyle can be a huge support to your body. This includes: Eating a balanced diet

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

  • Regular exercise

  • Proper sleep

  • Manage stress

The first go-to person will be your oncologist. Never hesitate to reach out to them regarding any concerns. Open communication is key to a better health. There are several support groups, as well. You can also talk to them for mental support. 

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