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People with sarcoma may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with sarcoma do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer. If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your doctor.
STS rarely causes symptoms in the early stages. The first sign of a sarcoma in an arm, leg, or trunk may be a painless lump or swelling. Most lumps are not sarcoma. The most common soft-tissue lumps are lipomas, which are made of fat cells and are not cancer. These lumps have often been there for many years and do not change in size. It’s important to talk with your doctor about any lumps that get larger or are painful. People with sarcoma that starts in the abdomen may not have any symptoms or may have pain or a sense of fullness.
Because STS can develop in flexible, elastic tissues or deep spaces in the body, the tumor can often easily push normal tissue out of its way as it grows. Therefore, a sarcoma may grow quite large before it causes symptoms. Eventually, it may cause pain as the growing tumor begins to press against nerves and muscles.
Your doctor will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.
If sarcoma is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.