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Soft tissue sarcoma

Feb 3, 2020

Sarcoma is a malignant tumor.  Soft tissue sarcomas are rare tumors. They account for about 1% of the total number of malignant tumors.  The majority of patients are 30-60 years old, 30% of sarcoma patients are younger than 30 years old.

What does sarcoma look like?

A malignant soft tissue tumor has the appearance of a growing, sedentary, rounded node of whitish or yellowish-gray color with a bumpy or smooth surface. The consistency of sarcoma varies and can be dense (fibrosarcoma) and soft (liposarcoma and angiosarcoma). 

 

 

"Alarms" about the possible appearance of sarcoma can be: 

  • the presence of a gradually or rapidly increasing tumor formation in the soft tissues of the trunk or limbs;
  • restriction of the mobility of the existing tumor;
  • the appearance of a tumor originating from the deep layers of soft tissues;
  • the occurrence of swelling after a time interval of several weeks to several months after the injury.

Soft tissue sarcomas are localized to the lower extremities in about 50% of cases. In 25% of patients, sarcoma is located on the upper extremities.  The rest - on the torso and occasionally on the head.

What is included in the mandatory examination for soft tissue sarcoma?

First of all, the oncologist's examination of the primary tumor and the skin near it, as well as the examination and palpation of regional lymph nodes and the collection of anamnesis. After that, it is necessary to conduct a mandatory magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the soft tissue tumor with intravenous contrast, if sarcoma is suspected, it is necessary to perform an open biopsy (remove a piece of the tumor) for histological and immunohistochemical examination under local anesthesia or under anesthesia. It is also necessary to perform an ultrasound examination of the peripheral lymph nodes, abdominal organs, retroperitoneal space and perform a chest X-ray for the absence or presence of metastases.  If necessary (according to indications), it is possible to supplement the examination by performing computed tomography (CT) of these areas with the use of contrast agents.  If enlarged peripheral lymph nodes are detected (if metastases are suspected in them)the patient should perform a fine needle aspiration puncture biopsy with a cytological examination. 

How to treat soft tissue sarcoma?

Soft tissue sarcomas are subject to surgical, combined and complex treatment, which consists in a wide excision of the tumor, if necessary, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Surgical intervention is the main method of radical treatment, in which the tumor is excised within normal tissues.  

Radiation therapy is used in addition to surgical treatment to reduce the risk of re-growth of sarcoma (relapse).

Chemotherapy after surgery can reduce the risk of relapses and metastases after surgical or combined treatment. A comprehensive approach using surgery, radiation treatment, and preventive (adjuvant) chemotherapy resulted in improved treatment outcomes.

Recovery can be achieved in 70-80% of patients with soft tissue sarcomas of the extremities and in 50-75% of patients with tumors located on the trunk.

Remember that only early and timely diagnosis will allow you to carry out radical treatment and completely rid you of soft tissue sarcoma! 

    

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