About Sarcoma

Sarcoma is a type of cancer that can occur in various locations you your body. It is a general term for a broad group of cancers that begin in the bones and in soft tissues ( soft tissues sarcomas). They develop in supporting tissues of the body, which include tissues such as muscle. nerves, fat and blood vessels.

In the early stages sarcomas do not usually cause symptoms. As sarcomas can grow anywhere in the body, symptoms depend on the location of cancer. The main symptoms include: a lump that’s painless at first, pain or soreness as the lump grows and presses against nerves and muscles.

The main types of sarcomas are:

  1. Leiomyosarcoma: It is the most common type of soft tissues sarcoma, These develop from smooth muscle cells. This is the type of muscles that you do not control.
  2. Liposarcoma: These are sarcomas that develop from fatty tissue and can grow anywhere in the body. They usually show up as soft lumps.
  3. Firboblastic: These sarcomas grow from cells in fibrous tissue. The cells are called histiocytes or fibrocytes. They can grow in any part of the body and are commonly found in arms or legs.
  4. Rhabdomyosarcoma: These develop from skeletal (started) muscle cells. This is a type of muscle that you can control. These also develop anywhere in the body.

Once sarcoma has been diagnosed, doctors will determine the stage of cancer and whether or not it is metastatic; based on which doctors would be able to devise a treatment plan. Sarcoma treatment varies depending on the location,  stage of cancer and whether or not the cancer has spread. Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and proton beam therapy.

To know more about sarcomas you can refer to our Sarcoma Guide


No major professional organisations currently recommend any routine screening of the general public for sarcomas.

our experts

Dr Himanshu Rohela

Consultant Orthopaedic Oncology

Dr Charles Lowdell

Consultant Clinical Oncologist



Surgery: It is used to remove and try to cure cancer or to relieve its symptoms. Patient could have limb saving surgery or where part of the diseased bone is removed.

Chemotherapy: This is given by administrating drugs intravenously (IV), intra-arterially (IA) or via intra – peritoneal (IP) injections to destroy cancer cells. This treatment can last up to many weeks.

Radiotherapy: This is performed by directing radiation beams at the targeted area, and like chemotherapy this treatment usually requires multiple sessions which are performed over a series of weeks.

Targeted Therapy: This is performed by administrating a number of drugs to the patient which will target certain components of the cancer cells.

Proton Beam Therapy: This is a type of radiation therapy. It uses protons rather than x-rays to treat cancer. Proton beam therapy has had promising results with reduced side effects compared to radiation.

Treatments are often used in combination with each other, particularly is the cancer is advanced and surgery is being performed. Chemotherapy may often be used before surgery to shrink the tumour or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that could not be removed during surgery.

You may experience vomiting, nausea, hair loss, fatigue & body pain during treatment. Please do not hesitate to discuss this further with your doctor, for more information on the management of any symptoms.


  • Most patients require a post – surgical recovery period of up to 4- 6 weeks. Speak to your surgeon to understand the amount of recovery you would need following your treatment.
  • Appropriate rest is also important during this period.
  • If there is pain and discomfort then please speak to your doctor for its management.

length of stay

Hospital Stay:     3-7 days for surgery

Total Stay:           Depending upon treatment the length of stay can wary from 2 weeks to a few months

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