What are the symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma?
Soft tissue sarcomas that start in the limbs or extremities often look like a lump under the skin. The lump usually grows over time, and it may or may not hurt.
Soft tissue sarcomas that start in the abdomen may not be noticeable until they grow large enough to cause other symptoms or problems in the body, usually because the tumors are pressing on organs, muscles or nerves. For example, they may cause abdominal pain, shortness of breath, numbness in the arms and legs, urinary obstruction, a feeling of fullness after little food, nausea or vomiting.
Other symptoms of soft tissue tumors can include:
- Weight loss
- Numbness or tingling
- Weakness in an arm, leg, foot or hand
How is soft tissue sarcoma diagnosed?
Miami Cancer Institute's alliance with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center gives your care team access to an expert pathology unit and genetic research that can help pinpoint your exact type of cancer. Identifying the specific cancer type allows your oncologists to develop a more individualized and effective treatment plan.
Our orthopedic cancer specialists also participate in a multidisciplinary clinic and discuss cases at a regular Tumor Board, which allows them to collaborate with other clinicians to develop the best treatment for you. In recent years, soft tissue sarcoma treatment has made great strides thanks to this collaborative effort, and patients are seeing the benefits of better, more effective care.
If your doctor suspects you have soft tissue sarcoma, he or she may conduct a physical exam and ask about your medical history and your family medical history. Your doctor may also order diagnostic tests, such as blood tests. You will also likely undergo imaging tests, such as CT scans, PET scans, or MRIs.
Following your diagnostic and imaging tests, you may undergo a biopsy. During this procedure, a tiny piece of tissue from the tumor or suspicious area will be removed, and a pathologist will examine it under a microscope to see if it has cancerous cells.
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Taking care of the whole patient is an important component of providing personalized cancer care. Integrated into the fabric of the Miami Cancer Institute, the Cancer Patient Support Center addresses the psychological, physical, social and spiritual needs of our patients during cancer treatment and beyond.