Soft Tissue Sarcoma Causes, Prevention And Treatment


An uncommon kind of cancer called soft tissue sarcoma starts in the tissues that surround, connect, and support other bodily structures. This comprises your muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and joint lining.

Soft tissue sarcomas come in more than 50 different varieties. While certain varieties primarily affect adults, others are more likely to afflict youngsters. Since they can be confused for several different growths, these tumours can be challenging to identify.

Although soft tissue sarcomas can develop everywhere on the body, the arms, legs, and abdomen are where they most frequently do. The most usual treatment is surgical removal, but radiation and chemotherapy may also be advised depending on the size, kind, location, and aggressiveness of the tumour.

An uncommon type of malignancy known as soft tissue sarcomas affects the tissues that surround, support, and link to other body parts and organs.

Fat, muscle, blood vessels, deep skin tissues, tendons, and ligaments are among the structures that soft tissue sarcomas can impact. Sarcomas of the bones are covered individually.

The legs, arms, and belly are just a few of the body parts where soft tissue sarcomas can manifest (abdomen).


Most of the time, the exact aetiology of soft tissue sarcoma is unknown.

Cancer often develops when cells experience Genetic faults (mutations). Cells proliferate and divide out of control as a result of the defects. The aberrant cells begin to assemble into a tumour, which can enlarge to infiltrate neighbouring tissues and spread to other areas of the body.

The type of soft tissue sarcoma you have is determined by the type of cell that experiences the genetic mutation. For instance, liposarcoma develops from fat cells, but angiosarcoma starts in the lining of blood arteries. Soft tissue sarcomas come in a variety of forms:

  • Angiosarcoma
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans
  • Sarcoma of the epithelium
  • Stromal tumour of the digestive system (GIST)
  • Sarcoma of Kaposi
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Liposarcoma
  • Malignant tumour of the peripheral nerve sheath
  • Myxofibrosarcoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Individual fibrous tumour
  • Sarcoma of the joints
  • Undifferentiated (pleomorphic sarcoma)

Most of the time, soft tissue sarcoma does not have a clear cause, however, there are certain factors that are known to raise the risk, such as:

  • Age: Although soft tissue sarcomas can occur at any age, even in youngsters, they tend to affect adults in their middle or later years more frequently, and as you age, your chance of developing one rises.
  • A higher incidence of soft tissue sarcomas is linked to specific hereditary disorders such as neurofibromatosis type 1 and retinoblastoma.
  • Prior radiation - Years after their first treatment, some individuals who have previously had radiation for another kind of cancer go on to develop soft tissue sarcoma.
  • There has been a correlation between increased incidence of soft tissue sarcoma and exposure to specific chemicals, such as vinyl chloride, dioxins, and phenoxy acetic herbicides.
  • The relatively rare Kaposi sarcoma is a rare sarcoma brought on when a person with a compromised immune system contracts the human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) (such as people with HIV).

How to check if you have Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

Schedule a visit with your doctor if you have:

  • A bulge that is becoming larger or is discomfort
  • Any size bump that is deeply embedded in a muscle
  • Return of a tumour that has been surgically removed

Risk Factors

The following elements might raise your chance of developing sarcoma:

  • Syndromes inherited. Soft tissue sarcoma risk might be passed down from your parents. Hereditary retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, and Werner syndrome are examples of genetic disorders that raise your risk.
  • Exposure to chemicals. Herbicides, arsenic, and dioxin are a few pollutants that might raise your chance of developing soft tissue sarcomas.
  • Exposure to radiation. Soft tissue sarcomas can become more common after prior radiation therapy for other tumours.


Early on, a soft tissue sarcoma may not exhibit any signs or symptoms. The tumour's progression might result in:

  • A conspicuous growth or lump
  • If a tumour pushes on nerves or muscles, it may cause pain.

Early on, soft tissue sarcomas may show no symptoms at all.

When they grow or spread, they may produce symptoms. 

For instance:

  • A lump that is painless but difficult to move around due to swelling under the skin may develop over time.
  • Abdominal swelling can result in constipation, a lingering sense of fullness, and abdominal discomfort.
  • A cough or shortness of breath might be brought on by oedema around the lungs.
  • If you have a lump, especially one that is growing over time, you should visit your doctor.

It is crucial to have your symptoms evaluated even if it is much more likely that you have a non-cancerous ailment, such as a cyst (fluid beneath the skin) or a lipoma (fatty lump).

Depending on where in the body it originates, soft tissue sarcomas can take many various forms.

Examples comprise:

  • Muscle tissue is where leiomyosarcoma occurs.
  • Fat tissue is where liposarcomas grow.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) form in the connective tissues that support the digestive system's organs while angiosarcoma forms in the cells of the blood or lymph glands.


Avoiding exposure to risk factors whenever feasible is the only approach to stop certain soft tissue sarcomas from developing. Nonetheless, the majority of sarcomas arise in adults with no identified risk factors. There is no known technique to stop this malignancy as of now. Moreover, radiation treatment patients have few options.


The size, kind, and location of your tumour will determine your soft tissue sarcoma therapy options.


Surgery is frequently used to treat soft tissue sarcoma. Surgery often entails removing the malignancy as well as some surrounding healthy tissue.

Radiation and chemotherapy may be used to reduce the tumor when soft tissue sarcoma affects the arms and legs in order to prevent amputation.

Radiation treatment

Using powerful energy beams to treat cancer is known as radiation therapy. Options consist of:

  • Prior to surgery. Before surgery, radiation can help the tumour contract, making it simpler to remove.
  • Throughout an operation. Intraoperative radiation makes it possible to administer a larger dosage of radiation to the target location while sparing nearby tissues.
  • After surgery. Any cancer cells that remain after surgery can be killed using postoperative radiation.


Chemotherapy is a medication that destroys cancer cells by using chemicals. Chemotherapy can be given orally or intravenously (intravenously). Chemotherapy works better on some types of soft tissue sarcoma than on others. For instance, rhabdomyosarcoma is frequently treated with chemotherapy.

Specialised medication therapy

Targeted pharmacological therapies can be used to tackle certain traits in the cells of some soft tissue sarcoma types. These drugs are less harmful and more effective than chemotherapy. The use of targeted therapies has been very beneficial for gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs).

Complications of Soft Tissue Sarcoma

  • A lump that can not be moved easily and swells over time may result from swelling under the skin.
  • Constipation, a lingering sense of fullness, and abdominal discomfort can all be caused by swelling in the belly.
  • Breathing problems or a cough might be brought on by lung enlargement.


For further information please access the following resources:

Emergency : +91 89686 77907

Front Desk : +91 98018 79584

Page last reviewed: Apr 25, 2023

Next review due: Apr 25, 2025

Call us

Emergency : +91 89686 77907

Front Desk : +91 98018 79584

Follow us