What is Soft Tissue Sarcoma?
Cancer of the connective tissues is technically known as
soft tissue sarcoma
. The cancer is rare by nature as less than one percent of newly reported cases fall under this category. The cells which make up the soft tissue do not undergo much division. This is the reason why sarcoma of the soft tissues is uncommon.
Adults above the age of 50 years are mostly diagnosed with this cancer. However, there are cases of children below 20 years affected with it.
Symptoms of Soft Tissue Sarcoma:
In most of the cases, the cancer is asymptomatic or without any signs in the initial stages. Due to the elastic nature of these tissues, the chunk of tumor cells can grow in a large size. By this stage, it can start applying pressure in the surrounding nerves and tissues replacing them from their normal site.
The possible indications of the tumor are formation of lump like structures with no pain in them. There can be swelling with complains of pain in the later stages due to the excessive application of pressure by the tumor.
Diagnosis of the Sarcoma in Soft Tissues:
The best possible way to find the fate of a tumor is by carrying out a biopsy. This is a diagnostic technique in which part of the suspicious tissues is separated by needle or surgical procedure. It is placed under powerful microscope to study the activities of the abnormal cancer cells.
The type of the cancer and its probable rate of growth can be learnt from the method. It helps the doctors to devise an effective treatment plan.
Low grade sarcomas do grow rapidly but generally do not spread the ailment to fresh locations. High grade sarcomas are known to posses this dangerous feature of cancer cells. The lungs are the most common site for the development of these malignant cells.
Risk Factors of Sarcoma in Soft Tissues:
Workers associated with wood preservative industry and plastic manufacturing are prone to developing this cancer in their liver or in the blood vessels.
Radiation exposure can lead to the onset of this disease. Owing to this reason, when powerful energy waves are used to treat cancer, it is ensured that only the malignant cells get destroyed by them, keeping the surrounding healthy cells unaffected to the maximum possible extent.
The role of certain viruses and inherited genes in causing this cancer has been discovered too. However, such cases comprise a very small fraction of the total incidences of sarcoma in the world.
Treatment of Sarcoma in Soft Tissues:
Depending upon the site, size and stage of the tumor the treatment modality is decided by the doctor. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the standard treatments for this cancer. However, the physicians can either apply a single technique or combine them together as part of a combination therapy.
It is the most common treatment for sarcoma. It essential that along with the tumor, parts of some healthy tissues should also be removed. This ensures low rates of recurrence of the tumor. In very rare cases, complete amputation of the limbs might be required.
It is used similar to chemotherapy but to kill the tumors located in sites inaccessible to surgery. It is more effective in destroying the tumor when it is localized or confined to a specific site.
The method can be either to sink the size of the tumor prior to surgery or kill the remaining cells after the operation. It has not been found to be effective in addressing the metastasis (or spreading of the disease). However, it can curb the symptoms and provide relief from the associated pain.
Soft Tissue Sarcoma
in its advanced stage can be treated with combining certain potent chemical drugs like Gemzar and Taxotere.