29 November 2021, Monday

What are Soft Tissue Tumors Sarcomas (STS)?


Sarcoma is a class of cancer arising from connective tissue, which includes bone, muscle, fat tissue, etc. The other major classes of cancer are carcinoma, lymphoma, leukaemia, etc. Malignant (cancerous) Soft Tissue Tumors arising from the somatic soft tissues are called Soft Tissue Sarcomas (STS).

Depending on the exact nature of the tumor tissue, there are a variety of sarcomas, e.g. synovial sarcoma, angiosarcoma, liposarcoma, etc.

Is Soft Tissue Sarcoma dangerous?

This may seem a silly question indeed as most people are aware that ‘cancer means danger’. As with any cancer, Soft Tissue Sarcoma is also dangerous and can be life-threatening if not detected in time and treated appropriately.

What is more important to know is, it is treatable and that, earlier the detection and treatment, better is the outcome. This is just to reinforce that information.

Can a patient with Soft Tissue Tumor be cured of the disease?

Most Benign Soft Tissue Tumors can be cured with surgery. There are some Benign Soft Tissue Tumors‚ which are locally aggressive, i.e. they have a high incidence of local recurrence, even after appropriate treatment. Despite this, they rarely pose a threat to the patient’s life or limb, unless they occur in a difficult location, involving vital organs, making surgery difficult or dangerous.

Malignant Soft Tissue Tumors (STS) on the other hand, are less predictable. There are various factors, which affect the outcome of treatment in a patient with Soft Tissue Sarcoma. Generally, if a STS is detected early and treated appropriately, there is a good chance of cure.

How common is Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

Malignant Soft Tissue Tumors are very rare. In adults, less than 1% of all cancers are soft tissue. 

It is a surprising fact that, although somatic soft tissues make up more than 2/3rd of the body weight in an adult human being, malignant soft tissue tumors are very rare as compared to the other malignant tumors like breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, etc.

In adults, less than 1% of all cancers are Soft Tissue Sarcomas. STS are more common than bone sarcomas. STS are most common in middle aged and older adults. However, they are relatively more common in children and young adults. In children, about 7% of all cancers are STS.

If I have a suspected Soft Tissue Tumor, what should I do about it?

In such a situation, the most important thing that you must do is, speak to your doctor and consult a specialist.

At the same time, however, it is also very important for you to know that there are some things that you must NOT do. They are as follows:

  1. Do not massage the swelling under any circumstance. This is because, if it is a malignant tumor‚ massaging could cause some of the tumor cells to be released into the blood circulation or the lymphatic system‚ through which they could travel and lodge in some distant organ or tissue and form metastasis. Besides‚ massaging will not offer relief in the presence of a tumor; it could actually trigger or aggravate the pain.
  2. For the same reason as above‚ do not apply any sort of compression bandage over the swelling. Also‚ avoid touching and examining the region frequently.


    Dr. Chetan Anchan

    MS - Orthopaedics, Diploma in Orthopaedics,

    FCPS - Mid. & Gynae, MBBS

    About Author - Dr. Chetan Anchan is an expert and well known orthopaedic surgeon and oncologist from Mumbai. He has a vast experience in treating all types of Malignant and Benign, Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors, and Skeletal Metastases.

    To book an appointment, call: +91 – 93244 27302

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