Soft tissue sarcoma is a type of cancer with over fifty subtypes that is rare and affects the tissues of the body that connects the structures of the body such as the nerves, tendons, muscles, fats, blood vessels and joint linings. It may affect both adults and children depending on the type of sarcoma. It can happen to any part of the body but most commonly found in the arms, legs and abdomen.
Early-stage of soft tissue sarcoma are usually asymptomatic, the symptom will arise at late stages. Soft tissue sarcoma may manifest the following signs and symptoms:
- A visible lump or swelling
- Pain due to the tumor putting pressure on the muscles or nerves
If you observe any of these, consult your doctor:
- A lump that is inside a muscle
- The lump has become painful and is getting bigger
- A lump that has recurred even after removal
Other symptoms in general include nausea, vomiting, unintentional weight loss or abnormal tiredness.
The cause of soft tissue sarcoma is unknown. However, overall, cancer starts with the mutation of the DNA of the cells which lead to the cell dividing uncontrollably and then later on forms a tumor. Cancer cells can invade tissues surrounding the area and also spread to other parts of the body.
The following factors may lead to soft tissue sarcoma:
- Inherited syndromes. Parents can pass on to their child the risk of having soft tissue sarcoma. Hereditary retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis and Werner syndrome are some of the genetic syndromes that may be inherited.
- Chemical exposure. Exposure to some chemicals like arsenic, herbicides and dioxin.
- Radiation exposure. Treatment of other cancers in the past using radiation.