Sarcoma is a rare tumor affecting connective tissue such as bone (osseous), cartilage, skeletal muscle, smooth muscle, tendons, veins/arteries, nerves, skin, and fatty tissues. Approximately 10,000 new cases of sarcoma are diagnosed in the US each year, representing just one percent of all cancers. Close to 80% of these are soft tissue sarcomas; the other 20% or so are bone cancers.
Soft-tissue tumors are typically painless, firm masses. While osseous tumors often present with pain. A number of diagnostic tests may be required to accurately identify a sarcoma, including blood tests, x-rays, CT scan, MRI, bone scan, and PET scan. Biopsy may also be indicated.
Fortunately, benign (non-cancerous) tumors are far more common than sarcomas. Depending upon tumor type, treatments range from observation to surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
For more information about the orthopaedic conditions and treatments for these body areas, visit our Patient Education section.