Soft Tissue Sarcomas: A Guide for Patients

Guides for Patients are designed to assist patients, their relatives and caregivers to better understand the nature of different types of cancer and evaluate the best available treatment choices.

What are soft tissue sarcomas?

Soft tissue sarcomas are a diverse group of malignant tumours that originate when abnormal cells grow out of control in soft tissues and connective tissues. Soft tissues can be found in any part of the body and include muscles, tendons, fat, blood and lymph vessels, nerves and joint linings (synovial tissue). The type of sarcoma depends on the kind of cells it arises from. Connective tissues include all tissues that support, connect or separate different tissues in the body. Soft tissue sarcomas, therefore, can grow almost anywhere, but are most common in arms and legs, followed by trunk and abdomen, and head and neck area.

Beyond a definition of soft tissue sarcomas, in this guide for patients you will find answers to questions such as:

  • Are soft tissue sarcomas frequent?
  • What causes soft tissue sarcomas?
  • How are soft tissue sarcomas diagnosed?
  • What is important to know to get the optimal treatment?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • What are the possible side effects of the treatments?
  • How can Patient Support Groups help?
  • What happens after the treatment?

This guide for patients has been prepared in collaboration with Anticancer Fund as a service to patients, to help patients and their relatives better understand the nature of soft tissue sarcomas and appreciate the best treatment choices available according to the subtype of soft tissue sarcomas. ESMO recommends that patients ask their doctors about what tests or types of treatments are needed for their type and stage of disease.

Patient Guide for Soft Tissue Sarcomas was published in 2016.