Soft tissue sarcomas are a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the soft tissues of the body, such as muscles, tendons, deep skin tissues, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, nerves, and tissues that surround the joints.
Although they can form anywhere on the body, the most common parts are the head, neck, arms, legs, trunk, abdomen, and retroperitoneum. There may be benign, intermediate, or malignant soft tissue tumors. When we talk about sarcomas, we are referring to malignant tumors.
According to data published by the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), soft tissue sarcomas represent approximately 1% of all malignant tumors, being responsible for 2% of cancer mortality. In the European Union, it is estimated that it occurs with an incidence of 5 new cases per year per 100,000 inhabitants.
The 5-year overall survival rate for soft tissue sarcoma is about 65%. However, life expectancy varies depending on the stage of the cancer:
- About 60% of sarcomas are found as localized sarcoma, meaning that the tumor is only found in one area of ??the body and the 5-year survival rate is 81%.
- For sarcomas that are in a locally advanced stage (approximately 19%), the 5-year survival rate is 57%.
- About 15% of sarcomas are metastatic, meaning that the cancer has spread to different parts of the body. The 5-year survival rate for people with metastatic sarcoma is 16%.
The treatment of soft tissue sarcomas is largely determined by the stage of the disease, the size of the tumor, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Surgery is the main treatment for soft tissue sarcomas when localized. Surgical removal consists of removing the tumor without breaking it with a sufficiently wide margin of healthy tissue around it in order to reduce the risk of local relapse.
Radiation therapy can also be used as an adjunct to surgery for soft tissue sarcomas, particularly when the tumor is large, deep, and high-grade. On the other hand, chemotherapy can be applied before surgery for a localized sarcoma when it is difficult to operate with the aim of reducing the tumor size, which will facilitate surgical removal.
In order to ensure the success of the surgery, the treatment of soft tissue sarcomas must be performed by an oncological team specialized in the treatment of sarcomas. Quénet Torrent Institute has surgeons specialized in the treatment of these tumors and is closely linked to an international collaboration network that applies the most innovative treatments.
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American Cancer Society. «Survival rates for soft tissue sarcoma.» Last consultation 07/13/2020. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/es/cancer/sarcoma-de-tejidos-blandos/deteccion-diagnostico-clasificacion-por-etapas/tasas-de-supervación.html
American Society of Clinical Oncology. «Soft tissue sarcoma: Statistics» Last consultation 07/13/2020. Available at: https://www.cancer.net/es/tipos-de-c%C3%A1ncer/sarcoma-de-tejido-blando/estad%C3%ADsticas
National Cancer Institute «Adult Soft Tissue Sarcoma Treatment.» Last consultation 07/13/2020. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/soft-tissue-sarcoma/patient/soft-tissue-treatment-adult-pdq
Spanish Association Against Cancer. «Information on soft tissue sarcoma.» Last consultation 07/13/2020. Available at: https://www.aecc.es/es/todo-sobre-cancer/tipos-cancer/sarcoma-tejidos-blandos