What is Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

When cancer cells begin in the soft tissue of your body, it is called soft tissue sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcomas occur more often in adults. Soft tissue sarcomas develop in connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, fat, blood vessels, nerves, and synovial tissues found around the joints. Adult soft tissue sarcomas can form almost anywhere in the body, but are most common in the arms, legs, trunk, abdomen, and head and neck.

Soft tissue sarcoma is very rare and accounts for 11,000 diagnosed new cases every year, according to the American Cancer Society. Because soft tissue sarcoma is so rare, it’s important to receive treatment at cancer centers, such as Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center that has experts in sarcoma and orthopaedic oncology.

While our sarcoma program treats adults, we have a relationship with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. For information about treatment of sarcoma in children, visit the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma Symptoms

Pain is the most common symptom of soft tissue sarcoma. Sarcomas may appear as painless lump under the skin, or not cause any pain until they are very large and press on nearby organs and tissues.