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Sarcomas are relatively rare cancers that develop in soft tissues, including muscle, cartilage, connective tissue, fat, nerves, and blood vessels. Sarcomas that develop in the bone are called osteosarcomas.
Find a Doctor at Dignity Health with expertise in diagnosing and treating sarcoma in Arizona. Call 855.666.2839 or use our online tool. We offer cancer care at our St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and Chandler Regional Medical Center locations. The University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph's is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center headquartered in Arizona.
Early in the disease, a sarcoma may not cause any symptoms. The tumors grow in soft tissues that can flex and move. As a result, tumors can be quite large before symptoms are noticeable. Sarcoma can also spread (metastasize) to other organs such as the lungs.
Signs and symptoms of sarcoma depend on where in the body the cancer develops. Sarcoma most commonly affects the arms or legs. In this location, most people notice a lump that grows over time. It may or may not be painful.
Doctors do not fully understand the cause of sarcoma. However, they do know that genetic defects and other characteristics can make a normal cell become a cancer cell. Cancer cells, including those of sarcoma, can grow and multiply forming a tumor.
Factors that increase the risk of developing sarcoma include specific gene mutations, or defects, that can be passed down through families. People with these inherited gene mutations are more likely to develop sarcoma. The genetic disorders caused by these mutations include:
Other risk factors include previous radiation treatment, lymph system problems, and exposure to chemicals, including vinyl chloride, arsenic, and dioxin.
At Dignity Health, your care team includes board certified radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and surgeons. Social workers, dietitians, pharmacists, and spiritual care experts make sure your overall health is considered. Cancer resources, such as support groups and counseling, are available for you, your caregivers, and your family.
Treatment options depend on the stage of sarcoma. Surgery is the most common treatment for most stages. Your doctor may also recommend radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.