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About Sarcoma

There are more than 70 different sarcomas — cancers affecting the bones and soft tissues. If you’re experiencing sarcoma symptoms, Arizona Center for Cancer Care’s experienced oncologists can help. The practice has offices spread across Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise, Anthem, Peoria, Fountain Hills, Wickenburg, Apache Junction, Sun City, Sun City West, Goodyear, and Tempe, Arizona. You can benefit from exceptional diagnostics and treatments for sarcoma by calling your nearest office or booking an in-person or telemedicine appointment online today.

Sarcoma Q & A

What is sarcoma?

Sarcoma is a term for over 70 cancers originating in the bones and soft tissues. Soft tissue sarcoma forms in the muscles, fat, tendons, blood vessels, nerves, and joint linings. Examples of these cancers include:

  • Angiosarcoma
  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Epithelioid sarcoma
  • Ewing sarcoma
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Solitary fibrous tumor
  • Synovial sarcoma

Because there are so many kinds of sarcoma, symptoms can vary considerably. Some problems you could develop with sarcoma include bone or abdominal pain, unintended weight loss, and fractures that happen without significant trauma. In some cases, you might feel a lump under your skin. The lump won’t necessarily be painful.

What causes sarcomas?

Cancer develops because of mutations in cell DNA. These mutations alter the instructions that regulate cell growth and lifespan, causing the cells to multiply uncontrollably and preventing them from dying when they should. The abnormal cells create cancerous tumors. Cells can sometimes break away and metastasize (spread) to other parts of your body.

With some diseases, like lung and cervical cancer, researchers have found the main causes (smoking for lung cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection for cervical cancer). However, it’s not clear what causes sarcomas.

Things that can increase your risk of sarcoma include:

  • Familial retinoblastoma
  • Neurofibromatosis type 1
  • Radiation therapy for cancer
  • Chronic swelling (lymphedema)
  • Exposure to some industrial chemicals and herbicides

Human herpesvirus 8 increases your chances of developing Kaposi’s sarcoma if you have a weakened immune system.

What treatments are available for sarcoma?

Surgery to remove the tumor is one of the main treatments. Your surgeon removes all the cancer cells where possible, which might involve limb amputation in severe cases. Sarcoma affecting nerves and organs might not be removable without risking damage to vital structures, so your surgeon extracts as much of the tumor as they can.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy (external beam radiation) or involves having an implant of radioactive material in your body (brachytherapy). The radiation destroys cancer cells.


Chemotherapy involves having repeated doses of powerful chemicals to kill the cancer cells. Some kinds of sarcoma are more vulnerable to chemotherapy than others.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy uses medicines that focus on specific cancer cell weaknesses. Your Arizona Center for Cancer Care doctor can test the sarcoma cells to see if targeted therapy would work.


Immunotherapy drugs interfere with the proteins cancer cells produce to make them invisible to your immune system.

Ablation therapy

Ablation destroys cancer cells by heating or freezing them or using high-frequency ultrasound waves.

Patients can also sometimes participate in clinical trials for new or improved sarcoma treatments.

For a prompt diagnosis of sarcoma symptoms and expert treatment, call Arizona Center for Cancer Care or book an appointment online today.