Soft tissues connect, support or surround other tissues. A few examples include muscles, tendons, fat and blood vessels.
There are several types of sarcoma, a type of cancer that develops in soft tissues. A diagnosis starts with the type of tissue in which the cancer originates, which sometimes spreads and can place pressure on the nerves and other organs, causing problems such as pain or difficulty breathing.
The National Cancer Institute indicates that while the causes of this condition are still being researched, people have a greater risk of having it if they have been exposed to certain chemical substances, received radiotherapy or have a genetic disorder.
If a doctor suspects that a patient has soft tissue sarcoma, a biopsy will be performed. The type of biopsy will depend on the size and location of the tumor. The doctor may use one of three types:
- Incisional biopsy: The removal of part of a lump or a sample of tissue.
- Core biopsy: The removal of tissue using a wide needle.
- Excisional biopsy: The complete removal of a lump or area of tissue that doesn’t look normal.
After this, samples of the primary tumor, lymph nodes and other suspicious areas will be taken. A pathologist will examine the tissue and verify the grade of the tumor. This is determined by the cells and how fast they are multiplying.
Keep in mind
Soft tissue sarcoma develops in the body’s soft tissues such as the muscles, tendons, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves and the tissue that surrounds the joints.
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