Soft tissue tumors, which, like bone tumors, are also called sarcomas, are encountered more frequently than bone and joint tumors. These tumors originate in connective or non-glandular tissue, and can develop in any part of the body that contains fat, muscle, nerve, blood vessels, fibrous tissues, and in any deep tissues, including tissues surrounding joints, bones, or deep subcutaneous tissues. More than half of soft tissue sarcomas develop in the arms or legs. About one in five (20%) are found in the abdominal cavity and present with symptoms similar to other abdominal-based health problems. The rest begin in the head and neck area (about 10%), and in and on the chest or abdomen (about 10%).1
There also are a vast number of non-malignant soft tissue neoplasms and tumors such as lipomas. Also typically included are cystic lesions of the deep tissues. The differentiating feature of soft tissue tumors (sarcomas) is that they arise from these connective tissues and do not arise from organs such as kidneys lungs, intestines, breasts, or thyroid glands.
Additional information on soft tissue sarcomas can be found in Weiss and Goldblum’s Enzinger and Weiss’s Soft Tissue Tumors, 5th ed.2
- 1. National Cancer Society (NCS): Sarcoma: Adult Soft Tissue Cancer? Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/sarcoma-adultsofttissuecancer/detailedguide/sarcoma-adult-soft-tissue-cancer-soft-tissue-sarcoma. Accessed March 19, 2014. Editorial revisions provided by William G. Ward, MD.
- 2. Weiss SW, Goldblum JR: Enzinger and Weiss’s Soft Tissue Tumors. 5th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby–Elsevier; 2008.