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What is Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

Soft tissue sarcoma is cancer in one of the soft tissues. There are many different kinds of soft tissue sarcoma. In general, soft tissue sarcomas are rare. About 43 percent of soft tissue tumors start in the arms or legs. Most of the others are found in the torso, or trunk area. Less often, they are found in the head and neck or inside other organs, including the liver, lung, kidney, uterus, breast, gastrointestinal tract, or the abdominal cavity.

The words “soft tissue” confuse many people. Soft tissues are what hold the body together. They include muscles, tendons, blood vessels, fat, nerves, and deep skin tissues. Soft tissues do not include bones or other organs. Although body parts such as lungs, breasts, and colons are soft, they have specific functions. Because they perform very specific "jobs," they are not considered soft tissue.

Types of Soft Tissue Sarcoma

The Stanford Sarcoma Program team has expertise in all soft tissue sarcoma subtypes.  The most common soft tissue sarcomas are leiomyocarcoma and liposarcomas. 

Noncancerous Lumps

Noncancerous lumps include lipomas (benign fat collections), cysts (fluid-filled sacs), and hemangiomas (large collections of abnormal blood vessels).

Cancerous Lumps

When lumps in the body's soft tissues are found to be cancerous, they may be called soft tissue sarcomas. These are some common soft tissue sarcomas:

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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