Sarcoma: Adult Soft Tissue Cancer

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Treating Sarcoma - Adult Soft Tissue Cancer TOPICS

How are soft tissue sarcomas treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don’t hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

General treatment information

Experts recommend that patients with sarcoma have a health care team made up of doctors from different specialties, such as:

  • An orthopedic surgeon: a surgeon who specializes in diseases of the bones, muscles, and joints (for sarcomas of the arms and legs)
  • A surgical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with surgery (for sarcomas of the abdomen and retroperitoneum [the back of the abdomen])
  • A thoracic surgeon: a doctor who treats diseases of the lungs and chest with surgery (for sarcomas in the chest)
  • A medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy
  • A physiatrist (or rehabilitation doctor): a doctor who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move

Many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, physical therapists, and other health professionals.

After a sarcoma is found and staged, your team will recommend one or several treatment options. This decision is important, so take time and think about all of the choices. In choosing a treatment plan, factors to consider include the type, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as your overall physical health.

The main types of treatment for soft tissue sarcoma are:

It is important to discuss all of your treatment options, including their goals and possible side effects, with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs. It’s also very important to ask questions if there is anything you’re not sure about. You can find some good questions to ask in the section “What should you ask your doctor about soft tissue sarcomas?” It also is often a good idea to seek a second opinion. A second opinion can provide more information and help you feel more confident about the chosen treatment plan. Some insurance companies require a second opinion before they will agree to pay for treatments.

Last Medical Review: 12/29/2014
Last Revised: 03/16/2015