Sarcoma is a rare cancer that arises from connective tissue, and usually occur in the bones, muscles, fat and blood vessels of your body. There are many types of sarcomas but can be broadly divided into two categories – soft tissue sarcoma, and bone sarcoma (osteosarcoma).
Soft tissue sarcomas (STS) begin in the soft tissues of the body. Examples of soft tissue include fat, muscle, nerves, tendons, and blood and lymph vessels. Soft tissue can also be contained within organs. Soft tissue sarcomas are harder to detect as they can appear anywhere in your body and do not cause symptoms in the early stages. Often, patients present with a painless lump which then grows bigger – this may press against the nerves or muscles and cause discomfort and pain, difficulty in breathing, or both. In some patients, they may be picked up on a scan done for other purposes.
Prior radiation and certain inherited conditions can make a person more likely to develop a soft tissue sarcoma. These include familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Li-Fraumeni syndrome, neurofibromatosis, and retinoblastoma. But mostly, there are no obvious reason why a sarcoma develops.
Surgery is the mainstay of treatment for localised sarcoma. However, it is important that a multidisciplinary approach, including radiation and chemotherapy, be taken for certain types of and more advanced sarcomas. This depends on many factors, for example the size, location, and type of sarcoma.
On the other hand, osteosarcoma symptoms are more obvious, and they include pain in the affected bone, swelling, or a limp if the sarcoma is in your leg.
Our doctors at Melissa Teo Surgery and The Surgical Oncology Clinic are skilled and experienced in treating soft tissue sarcoma. We work with the other sarcoma specialists in pathology, medical oncology and radiation oncology to ensure that an accurate sarcoma diagnosis is made, and will guide you through your treatment for sarcoma, taking into account all the necessary factors in order to craft a personalised treatment which will benefit you.