Soft tissue sarcoma is a type of sarcoma that develops in connective tissue. Sarcoma is actually a cancer that forms from transformed cells in one or number of tissues that develop from embryotic mesodema. However, not all lumps or masses are cancers. Sometimes the soft tissue sarcoma can be benign, and may occur in the extremities and all around the organs. These changes in the tissue appear as lumps or masses that usually do not cause any pain, swelling or other symptoms. However, there is no other way to tell if a sarcoma is cancerous or benign except seeing a doctor and taking all of the necessary tests needed for proper diagnosis.
Diagnosing soft tissue sarcoma
Soft tissue sarcoma is diagnosed by performing a physical exam that typically includes X-rays, computed tomography procedure, magnetic resonance imaging and a biopsy. The biopsy is performed by removing the cells or tissue for examination in the laboratory. A pathologist will examine the sample of a tissue under the microscope and perform various tests in order to determine whether the sarcoma is cancerous or benign. Sometimes, doctors may even use additional methods such as testing the tumor cells for chromosomal alterations, to make a final diagnosis.
Different types of benign sarcomas
Benign sarcomas are classified according to the type of the tissue they affect. Here are some of the most common types of benign sarcomas:
Benign fat tissue sarcomas include lipomas, lipoblastomas and hibernomas. Lipomas are composed of adipose tissue and most common types of soft tissue tumors. They are usually movable, painless and soft to touch. Lipoblastomas are type of subcutaneous benign fatty tumor, and hibernomas are benign tumors of brown fat composed of finely vacuolated fat cells.
Benign sarcomas of muscle tissue are leiomyomata and rhadbomyomata. Leiomyomas is a temporary benign smooth muscle tumor that commonly affects the uterus, small bowel and the esophagus. A rhabdomyoma is a benign tumor of striated muscle that may occur inside or outside of the heart. This is the most common primary tumor of the heart in infants and children.
Benign sarcomas of joint tissue are also common and they are known under the name nodular tenosynovitis. It is characterized as a firm lesion with up to 3cm in diameter. This sarcoma is usually found on the tendons of the fingers, hands and wrists.
Benign sarcomas of fibrous tissue include fibromas, elastofibromas, superficial fibromatosis and fibrous histiocytomas. Fibroid sarcomas are almost always benign. They are solid, made of fibrous tissue, occur as multiple tumor masses, slow growing and have no symptoms.