Soft tissue sarcoma
People with a soft tissue sarcoma are cared for by a team of doctors and nurses at specialist centres, who will help decide on the most appropriate treatment.
The best treatment depends on things such as where the cancer developed, the type of sarcoma it is, how far it has spread, your age and your general health.
The main treatments are:
These treatments are described in more detail below.
Surgery is the main treatment for soft tissue sarcomas that are diagnosed at an early stage.
It usually involves removing the tumour along with a section of surrounding healthy tissue. This will help ensure no cancer cells are left behind.
Every effort will be made to reduce the impact of surgery on the appearance and function of the affected body part. But there is a chance you'll have some difficulty using the affected body part after surgery and sometimesfurther surgerymay be needed to repair it.
In a very small number of cases, there may be no option but to amputate the part of the body where the cancer is located, such as part of the leg.
In some sarcomas, radiotherapy is used before or after surgery to improve the chance of cure. This is carried out using a machine that directs beams of radiation at a small treatment area.
Radiotherapy alone may also sometimes be used when surgery is not possible, to reduce symptoms caused by the sarcoma or slow its progression.
Common side effects of radiotherapy include sore skin, tiredness and hair loss in the treatment area. These tend to get better within a few days or weeks of treatment finishing.
Chemotherapy isvery occasionallyused before surgery to shrink a tumour and make it easier to remove. This involves being given anti-cancer medication directly into a vein (intravenously).
Chemotherapy may also be used alone or alongside radiotherapy for soft tissue sarcomas that can't be surgically removed.
Common side effects of chemotherapy include feeling tired and weak all the time, feeling and being sick, and hair loss. These can be unpleasant but are usually temporary.
There are also other types of anti-cancer medications used to treat sarcoma that may be given as injections or tablets.
Find out what soft tissue sarcomas are, what symptoms they can cause and how they're treated.
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