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Soft tissue sarcoma

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Soft tissue sarcomas are a group of cancers that develop from cells of connective tissue. These include cells that make up our muscles, fat, lining of joints and blood vessels. Soft tissue sarcomas can therefore develop almost anywhere in the body.

The most common type of soft tissue sarcoma is called a rhabdomyosarcoma, which forms from early cell types (called rhabdomyoblasts) that make up skeletal muscles. Rhabdomyosarcomas are more common in younger children (under 10 years of age), although they can also develop in teenagers and adults.

Other types of soft tissue sarcomas include:

  • Ewing sarcoma of soft tissue
  • liposarcoma, which forms in fat
  • synovial sarcoma, which can form near a joint such as the elbow or knee, or in other places in the body
  • leiomyosarcoma, which forms in smooth muscle.

Risk factors

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a certain condition or disease, such as cancer. In adults, lifestyle and environmental...

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Symptoms of soft tissue sarcomas may include a painless lump under the skin. If the tumour grows and presses on nearby organs, tissue, nerves or...

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Your child will have a number of tests to investigate their symptoms and confirm a diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma, including:

  • medical history and
  • ...
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Treatment and care of children with cancer is usually provided by a team of health professionals called a multidisciplinary team. Members of this team are...

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Diagnosis of cancer in a child is a very difficult time for the child, their family and their friends. You might feel overwhelmed, scared, anxious...

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Chance of cure

Many children with cancer are cured of the disease. Children’s bodies have great capacity for healing. Also, huge improvements have been made in the treatment...

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Clinical trials

Researchers are trialling new ways to diagnose and treat different types of cancer. Your child may be invited to be part of a clinical trial...

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More information

For more information about soft tissue sarcomas, see:

  • Rhabdomyosarcoma, from the American Cancer Society
  • Treatment PDQs® from the National
  • ...
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published: Sunday, 23 August, 2015