Pathophysiology: A soft-tissue sarcoma is a form of sarcoma that develops in connective tissue, though the term is sometimes applied to elements of the soft tissue that are not currently considered connective tissue.
Symptoms: In their early stages, soft-tissue sarcomas usually do not cause symptoms. Because soft tissue is relatively elastic, tumors can grow rather large, pushing aside normal tissue, before they are felt or cause any problems. The first noticeable symptom is usually a painless lump or swelling. As the tumor grows, it may cause other symptoms, such as pain or soreness, as it presses against nearby nerves and muscles.
Treatment: The stage of the sarcoma is based on the size and grade of the tumor, and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body (metastasized). Treatment options for soft-tissue sarcomas include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is the most common treatment for soft-tissue sarcomas. It is important to obtain a margin free of tumor to decrease the likelihood of local recurrence and give the best chance for eradication of the tumor.
Statistics: Incidence is the total number of new cases of cancer. Mortality is the number of deaths due to cancer. The most recent incidence statistics for soft tissue sarcoma are from 2010: 1,175 Canadians were diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, 665 men were diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, 510 women were diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma. The most recent mortality statistics for soft tissue sarcoma are from 2010: 475 Canadians died from soft tissue sarcoma, 235 men died from soft tissue sarcoma and 240 women died from soft tissue sarcoma.