Fast Facts About Soft Tissue Tumors

In addition to Greater Dallas Orthopaedics' region-leading experience in bone tumor diagnosis and treatment, the GDO team is equally sought after for the treatment of benign and malignant soft tissue tumors. To help provide insight to those dealing with a soft tissue tumor and seeking more information about next steps, we’ve assembled a brief list of common questions.

While this list is far from comprehensive and is not a substitute for legitimate medical consultation, it should help shed light on the fairly common issue of soft tissue tumors.

What Is A Soft Tissue Tumor?

A soft tissue tumor is a growth, usually referred to as a mass or lump, that has grown in an area of soft tissue. Soft tissue includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, fat, blood vessels, and more. At the highest level, a soft tissue tumor is the non-bone corollary to a bone tumor. Like all tumors, soft tissue tumors fall into two categories: benign or malignant. That is, non-cancerous or cancerous.


What Is A Benign Soft Tissue Tumor?

Benign soft tissue tumors are fairly common, noncancerous growths that can arise in any of the body’s many soft tissues. GDO treats thousands of these tumors each year, and most patients are referred to us to examine a mass or lump. Treatment is minimal.


What Is A Malignant Soft Tissue Tumor?

Malignant soft tissue tumors are extremely rare, especially compared to benign soft tissue tumors, and are called soft tissue sarcomas. They can start in any soft tissue and are more common among men than women in the United States. They make up less than 1% of all cancers and are treated through a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, depending on the scale of the sarcoma.


How Rare Are Soft Tissue Sarcomas?

Extremely rare, making up less than 1% of all cancer diagnoses.


Where Are Soft Tissue Sarcomas Found Most Often?

Soft tissue sarcomas occur commonly in the fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues of an individual in any part of the body. The most common areas of the body for soft tissue sarcomas are the arms and legs.


What Are Some Common Types of Malignant Soft Tissue Tumors?

According to the American Cancer Society, the three most common types of soft tissue tumors are Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma, Liposarcoma, and Leiomyosarcoma.


Are Benign & Malignant Soft Tissue Tumors Diagnosed Differently?

No. In either case, the first diagnosis step is a physical exam by an experienced musculoskeletal tumor surgeon. Then, sophisticated imaging is used to make a diagnosis. Once images are made through the use of x-ray, ultrasound, or MRI, a tumor specialist examines them and makes a diagnosis. A biopsy may be performed to confirm any diagnosis.

 

 

How Are Benign Soft Tissue Tumors Treated?

For benign soft tissue tumors, observation is often the only required treatment. Invasive measures are only taken if the benign tumor becomes painful or bothersome in some way, in which case it can typically be removed in an outpatient setting.


How Are Malignant Soft Tissue Tumors Treated?

Malignant soft tissue tumors are often treated with a combination of surgery and radiation. Chemotherapy is used on a case-by-case basis as an adjuvant treatment depending on the exact type of tumor in question. In most cases, multiple specialists are involved in a patient’s care, including the surgeon, radiation oncologist, and medical oncologist. A low-grade soft tissue sarcoma may only require removal surgery and ongoing observation in lieu of radiation and/or chemotherapy.


We hope that this served to educate you regarding soft tissue tumors at a high level. You can learn more about orthopedic tumors, bone tumors, joint replacements, and more on our blog and throughout our site.

If you’ve been diagnosed with or suspect you may have a soft tissue tumor, we encourage you to reach out to Greater Dallas Orthopaedics today to schedule a consultation. Each year, our surgeons see several thousand soft tissue tumor patients in the clinic. Such volume has resulted in an unparalleled level of experience in Texas and this region of the US, and we want to extend that expertise to you.

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