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Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Overview

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some basic information about this disease and the parts of the body it may affect. This is the first page of Cancer.Net’s Guide to Soft Tissue Sarcoma. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen. Think of that menu as a roadmap to this full guide.

Cancer begins when normal cells change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means the tumor will not spread.

About sarcoma

Sarcoma can start in any part of the body, such as the bone or soft tissue. About 60% of soft tissue sarcomas begin in an arm or leg, 30% start in the torso or abdomen, and 10% occur in the head or neck. Both children and adults can develop a sarcoma, but it is rare in adults, accounting for about 1% of all adult cancers. However, sarcoma in general represents about 15% of all childhood cancers.

This section covers sarcoma of the soft tissues. Learn more about sarcoma that starts in a bone.

About soft-tissue sarcoma

Soft-tissue sarcomas (STS) are a group of cancers that begin in the tissues that support and connect the body, such as fat cells, muscle, nerves, tendons, the lining of joints, blood vessels, or lymph vessels. As a result, STS can occur almost anywhere in the body. When an STS is small, it can go unnoticed because it usually does not cause problems in the beginning. However, as an STS grows, it can interfere with the body's normal functions.

Because there are at least 50 different types of STS, it is more accurately described as  a family of related diseases, rather than a single disease. The specific types of sarcoma are often named according to the normal tissue cells they most closely resemble, as listed below. This is different from most other types of cancer, which usually are named for the part of the body where the cancer began. Some sarcomas do not look like any type of normal tissue and are thought to come from stem cells, which are special cells that can mature into specific tissues or organs.

Name of Sarcoma

Related Normal Tissue Type

Alveolar soft part sarcoma

No obvious related normal tissue; may be a tumor of stem cells

Angiosarcoma

Blood or lymph vessels

Desmoid tumor , also called deep fibromatosis

Fibroblasts, which are  the most common type of cells in connective tissue

Ewing Family of sarcomas, including peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET)

No obvious related normal tissue; may be a tumor of stem cells

Fibrosarcoma

Fibroblasts, which are the most common type of cells in connective tissue

Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)

Specialized neuromuscular cells of the digestive tract

Kaposi sarcoma

Blood vessels

Leiomyosarcoma

Smooth muscle

Liposarcoma

Fat tissue

Myxofibrosarcoma

Connective tissue

Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST), also known as neurofibrosarcoma

Cells that wrap around nerve endings, similar to the way insulation wraps around a wire

Rhabdomyosarcoma

Skeletal muscle

Synovial sarcoma

No obvious related normal tissue; may be a tumor of stem cells

Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS), often referred to as malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) in the past

No obvious related normal tissue; may be a tumor of stem cells or a distant relative of rhabdomyosarcoma

The list above is not a complete list, but several of the most common types are listed. Experts have found many types and subtypes of sarcomas. Pathologists are now trying to find new ways to quickly determine a tumor's subtype because this helps determine treatment. A pathologist is a doctor who specializes in interpreting laboratory tests and evaluating cells, tissues, and organs to diagnose disease.  Looking at a tumor's abnormal genetics may help determine its characteristics and predict which treatments will be most effective. The use of targeted therapy has resulted in major advances in treating several types of sarcoma, including GIST, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP), tenosynovial giant cell tumor, and desmoid tumors. 

Pathologists also describe sarcoma by the grade, which describes how much cancer cells look like healthy cells when viewed under a microscope. The grade can help the doctor predict how quickly the sarcoma will spread. In general, the lower the tumor’s grade, the better the prognosis, which is the chance of recovery. Learn more about grade in the Stages and Grades section.

Looking for More of an Overview?

If you would like additional introductory information, explore these related items. Please note these links take you to other sections on Cancer.Net:

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Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Statistics

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people learn they have this type of cancer each year and some general survival information. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

This year, approximately 12,020 people (6,550 males and 5,470 females) will be diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma in the United States. An estimated 4,740 adults and children (2,550 males and 2,190 females) are expected to die of the disease this year.

The five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases. The five-year survival rate of people localized sarcomas is 83%. The five-year survival rate for people with sarcoma that have spread to distant parts of the body is 16%. When the sarcoma starts in an arm or leg, the five-year survival rates are slightly higher for each stage.

It is important to note that the length of time a person lives with sarcoma depends on many factors, including the size of the tumor, where it is located, the type, how fast the tumor cells are growing and dividing, and whether it is deep. If the sarcoma is diagnosed at an early stage and hasn’t spread from where it started, treatment is very effective and many people can be cured. On the other hand, if the sarcoma has spread to other parts of the body, treatment can usually control the tumor, but it is not often curable. Learn more in the Stages and Grades section.

Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with sarcoma. Because the survival statistics are measured in five-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2014.

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Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Risk Factors

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing this type of cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

Most sarcomas do not have known causes. The following factors can raise a person’s risk of developing sarcoma:

Previous radiation therapy. People who have been treated with radiation therapy for a previous cancer have a slightly increased risk of later developing sarcoma. 

Genetics. People with certain inherited diseases have a higher risk of sarcoma. These diseases include neurofibromatosis type I, also known as von Recklinghausen’s disease; Gardner syndrome; Werner syndrome; tuberous sclerosis; nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome; Li-Fraumeni syndrome; and retinoblastoma.

Chemicals. Workplace exposure to vinyl chloride monomer, used in making some types of plastics, or dioxin may increase the risk of sarcoma. However, most sarcoma is not known to be associated with specific environmental hazards.

Research continues to look into what factors cause this type of cancer and what people can do to lower their personal risk. There is no proven way to completely prevent this disease, but there may be steps you can take to lower your cancer risk. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your personal risk of developing this type of cancer.

To continue reading this guide, use the menu on the side of your screen to select another section. 

Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

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.

STS rarely causes symptoms in the early stages. The first sign of a sarcoma in an arm, leg, or torso 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. However, it’s important to talk with your doctor about any lumps that get larger or are painful, regardless of their location. People with sarcoma that starts in the abdomen may not have any symptoms, or they 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.

If you are concerned about one or more of the symptoms or signs on this list, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If sarcoma is diagnosed, relieving symptoms 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.

The next section helps explain which tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Diagnosis

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find a list of the common tests, procedures, and scans that doctors can use to find out what’s wrong and identify the cause of the problem. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors use many tests to diagnose cancer and find out if it has spread to another part of the body, called metastasis. Some tests may also determine which treatments may be the most effective. For most types of cancer, including sarcoma, a biopsy is the only way to make a definitive diagnosis of cancer. If a biopsy is not possible, the doctor may suggest other tests that will help make a diagnosis. Imaging tests may be used to find out whether the cancer has metastasized. Your doctor may consider these factors when choosing a diagnostic test:

  • Age and medical condition
  • Type of cancer suspected
  • Severity of symptoms
  • Previous test results

There are no standard screening tests for sarcoma. A doctor should examine any unusual or new lumps or bumps that are growing to make sure it is not cancer. Sarcoma is rare. This makes it important to talk with a doctor who has experience with this type of cancer if sarcoma is suspected.

A diagnosis of sarcoma is made by a combination of clinical examination by a doctor and imaging tests. It is confirmed by the results of a biopsy. In addition to a physical examination, some of the following tests may be used to diagnose sarcoma:

Imaging tests

A benign and a cancerous tumor may look different on imaging tests, such as an x-ray. In general, a benign tumor has round, smooth, well-defined borders. A cancerous tumor usually has irregular, poorly defined edges.

X-ray. An x-ray is a way to create a picture of the structures inside of the body, using a small amount of radiation. Typically, if an x-ray suggests cancer, the doctor will order other imaging tests. X-ray is particularly useful for bone sarcomas.

Ultrasound. An ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the internal organs.

Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan. A CT scan creates a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body with an x-ray machine. A computer then combines these images into a detailed, cross-sectional view that shows any abnormalities or tumors. Sometimes, a special dye called a contrast medium is given before the scan to provide better detail on the image. This dye can be injected into a patient’s vein or given as a pill to swallow.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses magnetic fields, not x-rays, to produce detailed images of the body. MRI can also be used to measure the tumor’s size. A special dye called a contrast medium is given before the scan to create a clearer picture. This dye can be injected into a patient’s vein or given as a pill to swallow.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. A PET scan is a way to create pictures of organs and tissues inside the body. A small amount of a radioactive sugar substance is injected into the patient’s body. This sugar substance is taken up by cells that use the most energy. Because cancer tends to use energy actively, it absorbs more of the radioactive substance. A scanner then detects this substance to produce images of the inside of the body.

Integrated PET-CT scan. This scanning method collects images from a CT and PET scan at the same time, and then it combines the images. This technique can be used to look at both the tumor’s structure and how much energy is used by the tumor and normal tissues. This information can be helpful in treatment planning and evaluating how well treatment is working.

Imaging tests may suggest the diagnosis of sarcoma, but a biopsy will always be performed to confirm the diagnosis and find out the subtype. It is very important for a patient to see a sarcoma specialist before any surgery or biopsy is done.

Biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. Other tests can suggest that cancer is present, but only a biopsy can make a definite diagnosis. The sample removed from the biopsy is analyzed by a pathologist.

There are different types of biopsies. For a needle biopsy, a doctor removes a small sample of tissue from the tumor with a needle-like instrument -- usually a core needle biopsy and, less often, a thin needle biopsy. This may be performed with the help of ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI to precisely find the tumor. In an incisional biopsy, the surgeon cuts into the tumor and removes a sample of tissue. In an excisional biopsy, the surgeon removes the entire tumor. Because these tumors are uncommon, it is important to have an expert pathologist review the sample of tissue removed to appropriately diagnose a sarcoma.

Molecular testing of the tumor. Your doctor may recommend running laboratory tests on a tumor sample to identify specific genes, proteins, and other factors unique to the tumor. Results of these tests will help decide whether your treatment options include a type of treatment called targeted therapy (see Treatment Options).

After diagnostic tests are done, your doctor will review all of the results with you. If the diagnosis is cancer, these results also help the doctor describe the cancer; this is called staging.

The next section helps explain the different stages and grades for this type of cancer. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Stages and Grades, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Stages

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about how doctors describe a cancer’s growth or spread, and how quickly it may grow. This is called the stage and grade. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Staging is a way of describing where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting the functions of other organs in the body. Doctors use diagnostic tests to find out the cancer's stage, so staging may not be complete until all the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor to decide what kind of treatment is best and can help predict a patient's prognosis (chance of recovery). There are different stage descriptions for different types of cancer.

There are several systems used to describe the stage of sarcoma. These systems are somewhat different from each other, but all use an overall stage to help predict a person’s prognosis.

One tool that doctors use to describe the stage of common cancers is the TNM system. TNM is an abbreviation for tumor (T), node (N), and metastasis (M). Doctors look at these three factors to determine the stage of cancer:

  • How large is the primary tumor and where is it located? (Tumor, T)
  • Has the tumor spread to the lymph nodes? (Node, N)
    Important note: Most sarcomas do not spread to lymph nodes, so surgeons often do not remove and test lymph nodes for most types of sarcoma. Rare exceptions include epithelioid sarcoma, some subtypes of rhabdomyosarcoma, and clear cell sarcoma.
  • Has the cancer metastasized to other parts of the body? (Metastasis, M)

The results are combined to determine the stage of cancer for each person. There are five stages: stage 0 (zero) and stages I through IV (one through four). The stage provides a common way of describing the cancer, so doctors can work together to plan the best treatments.

Here are more details on each part of the TNM system for sarcoma:

Tumor. Using the TNM system, the "T" plus a number (0 to 2) and letter (a or b) is used to describe the size and location of the tumor. The tumor (T) is further described by its depth. The tumor depth is described as either superficial or deep. The tumor depth is described as superficial when the tumor is above the body's superficial tissue. It is described as deep when the tumor is beneath the body's superficial tissue or invades the deep tissue. Specific tumor stage information is listed below.

TX: The primary tumor cannot be evaluated.

T0: There is no evidence of a primary tumor.

T1: The size of the tumor is 5 centimeters (cm) or smaller.

  • T1a: The tumor is superficial.
  • T1b: The tumor is deep.

T2: The size of the tumor is larger than 5 cm.

  • T2a: The tumor is superficial.
  • T2b: The tumor is deep.

Node. The "N" in the TNM staging system stands for lymph nodes, the tiny, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection. Lymph nodes near where the cancer started are called regional lymph nodes. Lymph nodes in other parts of the body are called distant lymph nodes. As noted above, lymph node involvement is unusual for soft tissue sarcoma.

NX: The regional lymph nodes cannot be evaluated.

N0: The cancer has not spread to the regional lymph nodes.

N1: The cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes.

Metastasis. The "M" in the TNM system indicates whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

M0: The cancer has not metastasized.

M1: There is metastasis to another part of the body.

Grade. Doctors also describe this type of cancer by its grade (G), which describes how much cancer cells look like healthy cells when viewed under a microscope. The doctor compares the cancerous tissue with healthy tissue. Healthy tissue usually contains many different types of cells grouped together. If the cancer looks similar to healthy tissue and contains different cell groupings, it is called differentiated or a low-grade tumor. If the cancerous tissue looks very different from healthy tissue, it is called poorly differentiated or a high-grade tumor. The cancer’s grade can help the doctor predict how quickly the cancer will spread. In general, the lower the tumor’s grade, the better the prognosis. There are four grades for sarcoma: GX (the grade cannot be evaluated), G1, G2, and G3.

  • How different the cancer cells are from normal tissue cells
  • How many tumor cells are dividing
  • How much of the tumor has cells that are dying

The lower the combined score for these three factors, the lower the grade, meaning that the tumor is less aggressive and a patient’s prognosis is better. This is the recommended grading system, but other systems may also be used. For instance, some doctors grade sarcomas as either “low grade” or “high grade,” particularly if the tumor has been treated before surgery.

Cancer stage grouping

Doctors assign the stage of the cancer by combining the T, N, M, and G classifications. For sarcoma, stages I and II are described in smaller groups according to the tumor's depth.

Stage IA: The tumor is 5 cm or less in size, and it is either superficial or deep. It has not spread to lymph nodes or to other parts of the body (T1a or T1b, N0, M0, GX or G1).

Stage IB: The tumor is more than 5 cm in size, and it is either superficial or deep. It has not spread to lymph nodes or to other parts of the body (T2a or T2b, N0, M0, GX or G1).

Stage IIA: The tumor is 5 cm or less in size, and it is either superficial or deep. It has not spread to lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. The grade is higher than the grade for stage IA (T1a or T1b, N0, M0, G2 or G3).

Stage IIB: The tumor is more than 5 cm in size, and it is either superficial or deep. It has not spread to lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. The grade is higher than the grade for stage IB (T2a or T2b, N0, M0, G2).

Stage III: This stage can be described by either of the following:

  • The tumor is more than 5 cm in size, and it is either superficial or deep. It has not spread to lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. The grade is higher than the grade for stage IIB (T2a or T2b, N0, M0, G3).
  • The tumor is any size, either superficial or deep, or any grade. It has spread to the regional lymph nodes but not to other parts of the body (any T, N1, M0, any G).

Stage IV: The tumor is any size, either superficial or deep, any grade, and may or may not have spread to the regional lymph nodes. It has spread to other parts of the body (any T, any N, M1, and any G).

This staging system applies to most types of soft tissue sarcoma except Kaposi sarcoma; GIST; infantile fibrosarcoma; sarcomas that begin in the central nervous system, which includes the brain or the lining around the brain and spinal cord; and sarcomas that begin in an organ or a hollow organ, such as the bowel or urinary tract.

Recurrent: Recurrent cancer is cancer that comes back after treatment. If there is a recurrence, the cancer may need to be staged again (called re-staging) using the system above.

Used with permission of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), Chicago, Illinois. The original source for this material is the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, Seventh Edition (2010) published by Springer-Verlag New York, www.cancerstaging.net. 

Information about the cancer’s stage and grade will help the doctor recommend a treatment plan. The next section helps explain the treatment options for this type of cancer. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Treatment Options, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Treatment Options

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about the different ways doctors use to treat people/children with this type of cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

This section outlines treatments that are the standard of care (the best proven treatments available) for this specific type of cancer. When making treatment plan decisions, patients are also encouraged to consider clinical trials as an option. A clinical trial is a research study to test a new approach to treatment to evaluate whether it is safe, effective, and possibly better than the standard treatment. Clinical trials may test such approaches as a new drug, a new combination of standard treatments, or new doses of current therapies. Your doctor can help you review all treatment options. For more information, see the Clinical Trials and Current Research sections.

Treatment overview

In cancer care, different types of doctors often work together to create a patient’s overall treatment plan that combines different types of treatments. This is called a multidisciplinary team.

Surgery is the most common first treatment for sarcomas that are small and in specific locations. If the tumor cannot be removed by surgery, it may be possible to permanently control its growth with radiation therapy. For a tumor that can be surgically removed, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery to reduce the risk of cancer coming back after treatment, which is called a recurrence. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also be used to reduce the size of the sarcoma or relieve pain and other symptoms.

Descriptions of the most common treatment options for sarcoma are listed below. Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors, including the type, stage, and grade of sarcoma, possible side effects, and the patient’s preferences and overall health. Your care plan may also include treatment for symptoms and side effects, an important part of cancer care. Take time to learn about all of your treatment options and be sure to ask questions about things that are unclear. Also, talk about the goals of each treatment with your doctor and what you can expect while receiving the treatment. Learn more about making treatment decisions.

Surgery

Surgery is the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue during an operation.

Before surgery, it’s important to have a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis (see Diagnosis). After a biopsy, surgery is typically the first and main treatment for an STS that is small and located in only one area. Surgical oncologists and orthopedic oncologists are doctors who specialize in treating cancer using surgery.

The surgeon's goal is to remove the tumor and enough normal tissue around it to leave behind a “clean margin,” which means there are no tumor cells left in the area where the tumor was removed. Small sarcomas can usually be effectively eliminated by surgery alone. Those larger than 5 cm are often treated with a combination of surgery and radiation therapy. Radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor and make removal easier, or they may be used during and after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. Learn more about cancer surgery.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells. A doctor who specializes in giving radiation therapy to treat cancer is called a radiation oncologist. The most common type of radiation treatment is called external-beam radiation therapy, which is radiation given from a machine outside the body. When radiation treatment is given using implants, it is called internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy. A radiation therapy regimen (schedule) usually consists of a specific number of treatments given over a set period of time.

Radiation therapy may be done before surgery to shrink the tumor so that it may be more easily removed. Or it may be done after surgery to remove any cancer cells left behind. Radiation treatment may make it possible to do less surgery, often preserving the arm or leg if the sarcoma is located in one of those places.

Radiation therapy can also damage normal cells, but because it is focused around the tumor, side effects are usually limited to those areas.

In the short term, radiation can cause injury to the skin that looks like a sunburn and is usually treated with creams that keep the skin soft and helps relieve pain. In the long term, radiation can cause scarring that limits the function of an arm or a leg. In rare cases, radiation can cause a sarcoma or other cancer. Each person is encouraged to talk with his or her doctor about the possible risks and benefits of a specific treatment such as radiation therapy.

Most radiation therapy side effects go away soon after treatment ends. Newer radiation techniques, including proton therapy (see Current Research), may help control sarcoma and cause fewer short-term and long-term side effects.

Brachytherapy as outpatient treatment. Doctors are now often able to give brachytherapy as an outpatient procedure. Traditionally, patients stayed in the hospital while the radioactive seeds were in place. This newer method uses specialized equipment that can painlessly insert the radiation seeds and remove them after about 15 minutes one or two times a day. This may allow some patients to go home during treatment. For patients who need to stay in the hospital while they are still recovering from surgery, this method  allows them to avoid being placed in an isolated, shielded room because they will be free of radioactivity for most of the day, meaning they can enjoy visits from family and friends without concern about radiation exposure.

Learn more about radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells, usually by stopping the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. Chemotherapy is given by a medical oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medication.

Systemic chemotherapy is delivered through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells throughout the body. Common ways to give chemotherapy include an intravenous (IV) tube placed into a vein using a needle or in a pill or capsule that is swallowed (orally). A chemotherapy regimen usually consists of a specific number of cycles given over a set period of time. A patient may receive one drug at a time or combinations of different drugs at the same time.

Different drugs are used to treat different types and subtypes of sarcoma. Chemotherapy for sarcoma can usually be given as an outpatient treatment. Some types of chemotherapy that might be used alone or in combination for STS include:

  • Dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome)
  • Docetaxel (Taxotere)
  • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • Epirubicin (Ellence)
  • Gemcitabine (Gemzar)
  • Ifosfamide (Cyfos, Ifex, Ifosfamidum)
  • Liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil, Dox-SL, Evacet, LipoDox, Caelyx)
  • Pazopanib (Votrient)
  • Temozolomide (Methazolastone, Temodar)
  • Trabectedin (Yondelis), used in Europe

The following drugs are used for certain subtypes of sarcoma.

For GIST:

  • Imatinib (Gleevec)
  • Regorafenib (Stivarga)
  • Sunitinib (Sutent)

For angiosarcoma:

  • Bevacizumab (Avastin)
  • Docetaxel (Docefrez, Taxotere)
  • Paclitaxel (Taxol)
  • Sorafenib (Nexavar)

For rhabdomyosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma of soft tissue or bone:

  • Actinomycin (Cosmegen, Lyovac Cosmegen)
  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Clafen, Neosar)
  • Etoposide (VePesid, Toposar)
  • Irinotecan (Camptosar)
  • Topotecan (Hycamptin)
  • Vincristine (Oncovin, Vincasar)

Chemotherapy is often used when a sarcoma has already spread. It may be given alone or in combination with surgery and/or radiation therapy. For example, certain types of sarcoma may be treated with chemotherapy before surgery to make the tumor easier to remove. Chemotherapy given before surgery may be called by different names, including preoperative chemotherapy, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, or induction chemotherapy.

If a patient has not received chemotherapy before surgery, chemotherapy may be given to destroy any microscopic tumor cells that remain after a patient has recovered from surgery. Chemotherapy given after surgery is called adjuvant chemotherapy or postoperative chemotherapy.

The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the individual and the dose used, but they can include fatigue, risk of infection, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. These side effects usually go away once treatment is finished.

Learn more about chemotherapy and preparing for treatment. The medications used to treat cancer are continually being evaluated. Talking with your doctor is often the best way to learn about the medications prescribed for you, their purpose, and their potential side effects or interactions with other medications. Learn more about your prescriptions by using searchable drug databases.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific proteins or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival, usually by blocking the action of proteins in cells called kinases. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to normal healthy cells.

Recent studies show that not all tumors have the same targets. To find the most effective treatment, your doctor may run tests to identify the genes, proteins, and other factors in your tumor. As a result, doctors can better match each patient with the most effective treatment whenever possible. In addition, many research studies are taking place now to find out more about specific molecular targets and new treatments directed at them (see Current Research).

In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved imatinib for the treatment of GIST in advanced stages. This drug is now the standard first-line treatment for GIST worldwide. In 2006, a second targeted therapy, sunitinib, was approved for the treatment of GIST when imatinib doesn’t work. More recently, imatinib has been approved for use for patients with GIST after initial surgery to try to prevent recurrence in patients who might have a high risk of recurrence. In addition, imatinib is approved for the treatment of patients with advanced stage DFSP. Meanwhile, trabectedin was approved in 2007 outside of the United States for patients with sarcoma when conventional chemotherapy fails to control the disease. And pazopanib was approved in 2012 for patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma who have tried chemotherapy. Learn more about targeted treatments.

Getting care for symptoms and side effects

Cancer and its treatment often cause side effects. In addition to treatment to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer, an important part of cancer care is relieving a person’s symptoms and side effects. This approach is called palliative or supportive care, and it includes supporting the patient with his or her physical, emotional, and social needs.

Palliative care can help a person at any stage of illness. People often receive treatment for the cancer and treatment to ease side effects at the same time. In fact, patients who receive both often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report they are more satisfied with treatment.

Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to eliminate the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Talk with your doctor about the goals of each treatment in the treatment plan.

Before treatment begins, talk with your health care team about the possible side effects of your specific treatment plan and supportive care options. And during and after treatment, be sure to tell your doctor or another health care team member if you are experiencing a problem, so it is addressed as quickly as possible. Learn more about palliative care.

Metastatic sarcoma

If cancer has spread to another location in the body, it is called metastatic cancer. Patients with this diagnosis are encouraged to talk with doctors who are experienced in treating this stage of cancer, because there can be different opinions about the best treatment plan. Learn more about seeking a second opinion before starting treatment, so you are comfortable with the treatment plan chosen. This discussion may include clinical trials.

Your health care team may recommend a treatment plan that includes surgery alone, surgery plus radiation therapy, surgery plus chemotherapy, or chemotherapy alone. Rarely, when the tumor is not growing, a “watch and wait” approach, also called active surveillance, may be used. This means that the patient is closely monitored and active treatment begins only if the tumor begins to grow. Supportive care will also be important to help relieve symptoms and side effects.

Rarely, for patients with a very large tumor involving the major nerves and blood vessels of the arm or leg, surgical removal of the limb, called amputation, is necessary to control the tumor. This can also be necessary if the tumor grows back in the arm or leg after prior surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. It’s important to remember that the operation that results in the most useful and strongest limb may be different from the one that gives the most normal appearance. If amputation is needed, rehabilitation, including physical therapy, can help maximize the patient’s physical functioning. Rehabilitation can also help a person cope with the social and emotional effects of losing a limb.

For most patients, a diagnosis of metastatic cancer is very stressful and, at times, difficult to bear. Patients and their families are encouraged to talk about how they are feeling with doctors, nurses, social workers, or other members of the health care team. It may also be helpful to talk with other patients, possibly through a support group.

Remission and the chance of recurrence

A remission is when cancer cannot be detected in the body and there are no symptoms. This may also be called “no evidence of disease” or NED. 

A remission may be temporary or permanent. This uncertainty leads to many survivors feeling worried or anxious that the cancer will come back. While many remissions are permanent, it’s important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. Understanding the risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.

If the cancer does return after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer. A recurrence may start in the tissue where the sarcoma first appeared (called local recurrence), nearby (regional recurrence), or in another place (distant recurrence).

If the sarcoma was originally in the arm or leg, the recurrence most commonly occurs in the lungs. Patients treated for sarcoma of the abdomen or torso are at risk for local, regional, or distant recurrence.

When this occurs, a cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence, including whether the sarcoma’s stage has changed. After testing is done, you and your doctor will talk about your treatment options. Often the treatment plan will include the therapies described above, but they may be used in a different combination or given at a different pace. Such therapies include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Your doctor may also suggest clinical trials that are studying new ways to treat this type of recurrent cancer.

Local recurrences often can be successfully treated with additional surgery plus radiation therapy. Treatment for a distant recurrence is most successful for patients who have a small number of tumors that have spread to the lung that can be completely removed surgically or destroyed with radiofrequency ablation, which is the use of a needle inserted into the tumor to destroy the cancer with an electrical current, or with focused, high-dose radiation therapy.

People who have been treated for sarcoma should have regular follow-up examinations to look for a possible recurrence, based on a schedule set up by their oncologist. Learn more in the After Treatment section.

People with recurrent cancer often experience emotions such as disbelief or fear. Patients are encouraged to talk with their health care team about these feelings and ask about support services to help them cope. Learn more about dealing with cancer recurrence.

If treatment fails

Recovery from cancer is not always possible. If treatment is not successful, the disease may be called advanced or terminal cancer.

This diagnosis is stressful, and this is difficult to discuss for many people. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your doctor and health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team is there to help, and many team members have special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families. Making sure a person is physically comfortable and free from pain is extremely important.

Patients who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than six months may want to consider a type of palliative care called hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to think about where you would be most comfortable: at home, in the hospital, or in a hospice environment. Nursing care and special equipment can make staying at home a workable alternative for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.

After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.

The next section helps explain clinical trials, which are research studies. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select About Clinical Trials, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - About Clinical Trials

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn more about clinical trials, which are the main way that new medical approaches are tested to see how well they work. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors and scientists are always looking for better ways to treat patients with sarcoma. To make scientific advances, doctors create research studies involving volunteers, called clinical trials.

Many clinical trials are focused on new treatments, evaluating whether a new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than the current (standard) treatment. These types of studies evaluate new drugs, different combinations of existing treatments, new approaches to radiation therapy or surgery, and new methods of treatment. Patients who participate in clinical trials are often among the first to receive new treatments before they are widely available. However, there is no guarantee that the new treatment will be safe, effective, or better than a standard treatment.

There are also clinical trials that study new ways to ease symptoms and side effects during treatment and manage the late effects that may occur after treatment. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials regarding side effects. In addition, there are ongoing studies about ways to prevent the disease.

Patients decide to participate in clinical trials for many reasons. For some patients, a clinical trial is the best treatment option available. Because standard treatments are not perfect, patients are often willing to face the added uncertainty of a clinical trial in the hope of a better result. Other patients volunteer for clinical trials because they know that these studies are the only way to make progress in treating sarcoma. Even if they do not benefit directly from the clinical trial, their participation may benefit future patients with sarcoma.

Sometimes people have concerns that, by participating in a clinical trial, they may receive no treatment by being given a placebo or a “sugar pill.” The use of placebos in cancer clinical trials is rare. When a placebo is used in a study, it is done with the full knowledge of the participants. Find out more about placebos in cancer clinical trials.

To join a clinical trial, patients must participate in a process known as informed consent. During informed consent, the doctor should list all of the patient’s options so that the person understands how the new treatment differs from the standard treatment. The doctor must also list all of the risks of the new treatment, which may or may not be different from the risks of standard treatment. Finally, the doctor must explain what will be required of each patient in order to participate in the clinical trial, including the number of doctor visits, tests, and the schedule of treatment.

For specific topics being studied for sarcoma, learn more in the Current Research section.

Patients who participate in a clinical trial may stop participating at any time for any personal or medical reason. This may include that the new treatment is not working or there are serious side effects. Clinical trials are also closely monitored by experts who watch for any problems with each study. It is important that patients participating in a clinical trial talk with their doctor and researchers about who will be providing their treatment and care during the clinical trial, after the clinical trial ends, and/or if the patient chooses to leave the clinical trial before it ends. 

Cancer.Net offers a lot of information about cancer clinical trials in other areas of the website, including a complete section on clinical trials and places to search for clinical trials for a specific type of cancer.

The next section helps explain the areas of research going on today about this type of cancer. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Latest Research, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Latest Research

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about sarcoma, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

Proton therapy. Proton therapy is a type of external-beam radiation treatment that uses protons rather than x-rays. At high energy, protons can destroy cancer cells. Learn more about proton therapy. Radiation treatment with heavier charged particles, known as carbon ions, are being used and studied for the treatment of sarcomas in Japan and Germany.

Improved drug delivery. Some chemotherapy drugs are incorporated into fat molecules called liposomes to improve the absorption and distribution of the drug in the patient’s body.

New chemotherapy drugs. New chemotherapy is being developed and tested that may be effective in treating some subtypes of STS. An example is trabectedin (Yondelis), which has been approved in Europe. Trabectedin has been shown to have a very high level of activity in the treatment of a specific subtype of liposarcoma called myxoid-round cell liposarcoma. However, in the United States, FDA only allows patients access to it under special circumstances. Meanwhile, eribulin (Halaven), a drug approved for treatment of breast cancer, has shown promising results in an early trial in Europe and is now being investigated in a large, international study. Researchers are also working to find versions of standard chemotherapy to treat sarcoma that cause fewer side effects. For example, two new versions of ifosfamide—called glufosfamide and TH-302—are being studied in ongoing clinical trials. Learn more about drug development and approval.

Targeted therapy. As explained in the Treatment section, several targeted therapies have been approved to treat specific types of sarcoma recently, and this is an active area of research for sarcoma overall. Currently, researchers are identifying new kinase inhibitors and evaluating the order that the drugs should be used in a patient’s treatment plan.

For instance, regorafenib is a new targeted therapy used frequently in patients with advanced GIST who have already been treated with imatinib and suntinib. The FDA is currently reviewing a phase III clinical trial of this drug.

Other clinical trials are looking at a type of targeted therapy called anti-angiogenesis therapy. It is focused on stopping angiogenesis, which is the process of making new blood vessels. Because a tumor needs the nutrients delivered by blood vessels to grow and spread, the goal of anti-angiogenesis therapies is to “starve” the tumor.

Targeted oncogene treatments. Drugs are being researched that may block one or more of the proteins found in tumor cells that help the tumor grow and spread.

Tumor genetics. Researchers are learning that some sarcomas have unique genetic “fingerprints.” Understanding these fingerprints may help doctors determine better treatments and possibly better predict a patient’s prognosis. A number of cancer centers and companies now offer genetic tests of cancers to determine if people with sarcoma might benefit from newer treatments.

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current sarcoma treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.  

Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Coping with Side Effects

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about steps to take to help cope with physical, social, and emotional side effects. This page includes several links outside of this guide to other sections of this website. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Fear of treatment side effects is common after a diagnosis of cancer, but it may help to know that preventing and controlling side effects is a major focus of your health care team. This is called palliative or supportive care, and it is an important part of the overall treatment plan, regardless of the stage of disease.

Common side effects of each treatment option for sarcoma are described within the Treatment section. Learn more about the most common side effects of cancer and different treatments, along with ways to prevent or control them. Side effects depend on a variety of factors, including the cancer’s stage, the length and dosage of treatment(s), and your overall health.

Before treatment begins, talk with your doctor about possible side effects of each type of treatment you will be receiving. Ask which side effects are most likely to happen, when they are likely to occur, and what can be done to prevent or relieve them. And ask about the level of caregiving you may need during treatment and recovery because family members and friends often play an important role in the care of a person with sarcoma. Learn more about caregiving.

In addition to physical side effects, there may be emotional and social effects as well. Patients and their families are encouraged to share their feelings with a member of their health care team who can help with coping strategies, including concerns about managing the cost of your cancer care.

During and after treatment, be sure to tell the health care team about the side effects you experience, even if you feel they are not serious. Sometimes, side effects can last beyond the treatment period, called a long-term side effect. A side effect that occurs months or years after treatment is called a late effect. Treatment of both types of effects is an important part of survivorship care. Learn more by reading the After Treatment section or talking with your doctor.

The next section helps explain medical tests and check-ups needed after finishing cancer treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select After Treatment, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.  

Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - After Treatment

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about your medical care after cancer treatment is finished and why this follow-up care is important. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

After treatment for sarcoma ends, talk with your doctor about developing a follow-up care plan. This plan may include regular physical examinations and/or medical tests to monitor your recovery for the coming months and years.

Regularly scheduled follow-up visits with the doctors involved in your treatment are important to find a possible tumor recurrence and to help manage and, hopefully, prevent some side effects related to treatment. A common follow-up schedule includes visits every three to four months for the first three years after treatment, visits every six months until five years after treatment, and annual visits thereafter. Chest x-rays or CT scans will be done regularly during these follow-up visits to look for possible spread of cancer to the lungs. Imaging tests are also sometimes performed on the area where the tumor began. These tests may include an MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, and/or PET scan.

People who have been treated for sarcoma should talk with their doctor about any new symptoms, such as a cough, pain, or a new lump. It may be a sign of a cancer recurrence, a late effect of treatment, or a problem unrelated to cancer. If a recurrence happens, it is likely to occur within the first two years, but some sarcomas can recur much later.

For people who received radiation therapy, the region of the body that received radiation therapy can be at risk for limb swelling, called lymphedema; fracture of the thigh or leg bones; poor mobility of joints; and hardness of the soft tissues, called fibrosis. Rarely, another sarcoma that is different from the original tumor may develop as a result of radiation therapy. Talk with your doctor to learn ways to prevent and/or manage these side effects. For example, lymphedema can be managed with compression stockings and other special therapies; bone fractures may be prevented by avoiding certain high-impact exercises; joint mobility can be improved with a rehabilitation program; and fibrosis may lessened with several months of treatment with a combination of vitamin E and pentoxifylline, another oral medication. In addition, skin that received radiation therapy should be regularly protected from sun exposure with clothing or sunscreen to reduce the chance of skin cancer developing in that area.

For patients treated for sarcoma in an arm or leg, a rehabilitation program after surgery or radiation therapy can help the patient regain or maintain limb function. Range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and a program to reduce lymphedema may be recommended. A rehabilitation medicine specialist can help patients receive the most appropriate rehabilitation after treatment. The majority of patients with a sarcoma in an arm or leg can be successfully treated and maintain good limb function. However, when treatment included amputation, services that provide artificial limbs, called prosthetics, and additional mental health support can help manage the adjustment to life following the loss of a limb. Learn more about rehabilitation.

ASCO offers cancer treatment summary forms to help keep track of the cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship care plan once treatment is completed.

People recovering from sarcoma are encouraged to follow established guidelines for good health, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, eating a balanced diet, and having recommended cancer screening tests. Talk with your doctor to develop a plan that is best for your needs. Moderate physical activity can help rebuild your strength and energy level. Your doctor can help you create an appropriate exercise plan based upon your needs, physical abilities, and fitness level. Learn more about the next steps to take in survivorship, including making positive lifestyle changes.

The next section offers a list of questions you may want to ask. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Questions to Ask the Doctor, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide. 

Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Questions to Ask the Doctor

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your doctor or other members of your health care team, to help you better understand your child’s diagnosis, treatment plan, and overall care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Talking often with the doctor is important to make informed decisions about your health care. These suggested questions are a starting point to help you learn more about your cancer care and treatment. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to you. You may want to print this list and bring it to your next appointment, or download Cancer.Net’s free mobile app for an e-list and other interactive tools to manage your care.

General questions:

  • What type of sarcoma has been diagnosed?
  • Has this diagnosis been reviewed by a pathologist who is experienced in the diagnosis and classification of sarcoma?
  • What does my diagnosis mean?
  • Where is the tumor located?
  • What is the sarcoma’s stage and grade? What does this mean?
  • Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
  • Should I see a sarcoma specialist?
  • Was my case discussed in a multidisciplinary conference? What does this mean?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What clinical trials are open to me? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the cancer, help me feel better, or both?
  • Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?
  • Who will be coordinating my overall treatment and follow-up care?
  • What are the possible side effects of this treatment, both in the short term and the long term?
  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
  • Could this treatment affect my sex life? If so, how and for how long?
  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have children? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?
  • If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?
  • What support services are available to me? To my family?
  • Whom do I call for questions or problems?

Questions to ask before surgery:

  • Should I have a biopsy before surgery?
  • What will happen during this surgery?
  • Will the surgery be performed in en-bloc resection? What does this mean?
  • How much experience does this surgeon have with sarcoma? How many sarcoma operations has he or she done in the past year?
  • What are the possible side effects of my surgery, both in the short term and long term?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital for this surgery? For how long?
  • Does the stage of cancer affect the decision for surgery? How?
  • Do I need chemotherapy and/or radiation before the surgery? After the surgery?
  • Will I need rehabilitative services after the surgery?

Questions to ask before radiation therapy:

  • What type of radiation therapy is recommended?
  • How experienced is the radiation oncologist with sarcoma? How many people with sarcoma has he or she treated in the past year?
  • How many treatments will I need, and how long will each one take?
  • What side effects can I expect from this treatment?
  • What can be done to prevent or to treat the side effects?

Questions to ask before chemotherapy or targeted therapy:

  • What type of medication is recommended?
  • How experienced is the medical oncologist with sarcoma? How many people with sarcoma has he or she treated in the past year?
  • Are other chemotherapy or targeted treatments available?
  • Should I consider a clinical trial?
  • How many treatments will I need, and how long will each take?
  • What side effects can I expect from this treatment?
  • What can be done to prevent or manage these side effects?

After treatment:

  • What are the chances that the sarcoma will return?
  • What follow-up tests do I need, and how often do I need them?

The next section offers some more resources that may be helpful to you. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Additional Resources, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Sarcoma, Soft Tissue - Additional Resources

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some helpful links to other areas of Cancer.Net that provide information about cancer care and treatment. This is the final page of Cancer.Net’s Guide to Soft Tissue Sarcoma. To go back and review other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Cancer.Net includes many other sections about the medical and emotional aspects of cancer, both for the person diagnosed and their family members and friends. This website is meant to be a resource for you and your loved ones from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, and beyond. Here are a few sections that may get you started in exploring the rest of Cancer.Net:

- Search for a cancer specialist in your local area using this free database of doctors from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

- Review dictionary articles to help understand medical phrases and terms used in cancer care and treatment

- Read more about the first steps to take when newly diagnosed with cancer.

- Find out more about clinical trials as a treatment option.

- Learn more about coping with the emotions that cancer can bring, including those within a family or a relationship.

- Find a national, not-for-profit advocacy organization that may offer additional information, services, and support for people with this type of cancer.

- Explore next steps a person can take after active treatment is complete.

This is the end of Cancer.Net’s Guide to Soft Tissue Sarcoma.