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How do adult soft tissue sarcomas affect the body?

As the name implies, adult soft tissue sarcomas start in the cells of the body's soft tissue. Examples of soft tissue include blood vessels, muscles, fatty tissue, fibrous tissue, and tendons. When certain DNA mutations occur, it causes an overproduction of cells that form a tumor in the soft tissue. Most commonly, adult soft tissue sarcomas form in the arms or legs, but they can also affect internal organs and other locations. These tumors usually cause a painless lump to form but, depending on what area is affected, adult soft tissue sarcoma can affect the body in a variety of ways. If tumors are not treated, they often grow large enough to cause pain or create other complications throughout the body.

Dr. Jill K. Onesti, MD
Surgical Oncologist

Sarcomas can cause normal tissue to be moved aside, invade normal tissue or impinge upon blood vessels and nerves. This can cause weakness, numbness and tingling of your arm or leg. Sarcomas can also spread to other areas of your body. Certain types of sarcoma can spread inside your abdomen, but the most common place for a sarcoma to spread is to your lungs. Your doctor will perform a complete workup to rule out spread anywhere else. After undergoing treatment for your sarcoma, you will also have surveillance imaging of the initial site of the sarcoma (such as your arm or leg), as well as of your lungs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.