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You will face many hard decisions if a loved one or you have been diagnosed with sarcoma. Including several questions like where should you go for treatment? What are the available treatment options? How to maintain your quality of life? We have tried to describe these concerns, the types, and possible treatment, which will help you decide.

What Is Sarcoma?

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Sarcoma is cancer that begins in the body's soft tissues, such as fat, muscles, nerves, tendons, blood vessels, and lymph vessels, and can occur anywhere in the body and any organ. The most common areas affected are arms and legs. These cancers do not cause symptoms early on, as the tissues' elastic nature accommodates the growing tumor. Symptoms only occur when the lump presses on a nerve, bone, blood vessel, or muscle or if a lump is visible. Inherited medical conditions, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), neurofibromatosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and retinoblastoma, make a person more prone to soft tissue sarcoma. Try out MSKCC's various Sarcoma (Prediction Tools) nomograms!

What Are the Types of Sarcoma?

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  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) - It begins in the digestive or gastrointestinal tract, especially the stomach. They grow large and can spread.
  • Liposarcoma - The type of cancer that begins in fatty tissue. These are various subtypes of liposarcoma, and some of them are more aggressive than others.
  • Leiomyosarcoma - It begins in the smooth muscle tissues that line hollow organs, such as the uterus, bladder, and stomach.
  • Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma (UPS) - This tumor can occur anywhere in the body but commonly affects the abdominal wall's inner side and arms or thighs.
  • Synovial Sarcoma - It commonly occurs in the arms, legs, toes, and fingers and commonly affects younger adults and children.
  • Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor (MPNST) - A rare and aggressive tumor that develops in the nerve cells.
  • Solitary Fibrous Tumor and Hemangiopericytoma - They are benign and can form anywhere in the body.
  • Fibrosarcoma - It used to be the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma, but advances in diagnostic techniques have made it a rare disease.
  • Vascular Sarcoma - Tumor that starts in the blood vessels.
  • Epithelioid Sarcoma - Commonly seen in young adults, and generally occur in the feet, legs, and arms, and sometimes in the groin.
  • Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma (ASPS) - It is a very rare sarcoma that develops in younger adults' legs.
  • Clear Cell Sarcoma and Melanoma of Soft Parts - It has features of both soft tissue sarcoma and melanoma (an aggressive skin cancer).
  • Extraskeletal Myxoid Chondrosarcoma (EMC) - These are painless lumps that are soft or gelatinous to touch.

Benign Sarcoma-like Growths

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Examples of these benign tumors are ossifying fibromyxoid tumor, perivascular epithelioid cell tumor, angiomyolipoma, and sugar cell tumor, lymphangioleiomyomatosis, giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath and pigmented villonodular synovitis, myoepithelial tumors of soft tissue, and glomus tissue tumor.
Benign tumors that are the least aggressive are lipoma, lipomatosis, lipoblastoma or lipoblastomatosis, angiolipoma, angiomyolipoma, angiomyolipoma, hibernoma, granular cell tumors, elastoma, hemangioma, leiomyoma, schwannoma, neurofibroma, myxoma, angiomyxoma, and angiofibroma.

What Are the Treatment Options for Sarcoma?

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All cancer patients at MSKCC are offered compassionate and personalized care from their experts. Specialists experienced in surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, rehabilitation, and maintaining the quality of life will work closely to develop a customized treatment plan to ensure the best outcome possible. Patients also benefit from new chemotherapy drugs through thousands of ongoing clinical trials at MSKCC. MSKCC doctors see more than 600 new patients with sarcoma every year and operate on tumors considered inoperable by other cancer centers. They have published their experience in diagnosing and treating more than 10,000 patients with soft tissue sarcoma.

MSKCC’s Surgeons and Experts

  • Mrinal M. Gounder, MD
    Mrinal M. Gounder, MD Clinical Expertise: Sarcomas of Soft Tissue and Bone; Developmental Therapeutics; Phase I Clinical Trials
  • Mark A. Dickson, MD
    Mark A. Dickson, MD Clinical Expertise: Sarcomas of Soft Tissue and Bone; Kaposi’s Sarcoma
  • Kaled M. Alektiar, MD, FASTRO
    Kaled M. Alektiar, MD, FASTRO Clinical Expertise: Ovarian Cancer; Cervical Cancer; Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer; Soft Tissue Sarcomas; Endocrine Tumors (Adult); Melanoma; Bone Tumors; Brachytherapy
  • Sandra P. D'Angelo, MD
    Sandra P. D'Angelo, MD Clinical Expertise: Sarcomas of Soft Tissue and Bone; Melanomas; Merkel Cell Carcinoma
  • Samuel Singer, MD, FACS
    Samuel Singer, MD, FACS Clinical Expertise: Soft Tissue Sarcomas; Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor; Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor; Desmoid Tumor
  • Narasimhan P. Agaram, MBBS
    Narasimhan P. Agaram, MBBS Clinical Expertise: Soft Tissue Sarcoma; Bone Pathology; Cytopathology