What is Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcoma?
Childhood soft tissue sarcoma is a disease in which cancer cells begin growing in the soft tissue in a child's body. The soft tissues connect, support and surround the body parts and organs, and include muscles, tendons, connective tissues, fat, blood vessels, nerves and synovial tissues (that surround the joints). Cancer develops as the result of abnormal cell growth within the soft tissues.
Types of Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcoma
There are many types of soft tissue sarcomas are classified according to the type of soft tissue they resemble. Types include:
Tumors of Fibrous (connective) Tissue
Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma
Fat Tissue Tumors
Smooth Muscle Tumors
Blood and Lymph Vessel Tumors
Synovial (joint) Tissue Sarcoma
Peripheral Nervous System Tumors
Bone and Cartilage Tumors
Extraosseous myxoid chondrosarcoma
Extraosseous mesenchymal chondrosarcoma
Combination Tissue Type Tumors
Tumors of Unknown Origin
Alveolar soft part sarcoma
Clear cell sarcoma
Soft tissue sarcoma is more likely to develop in people who have the following risk factors:
Specific genetic conditions. Certain genetic syndromes, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, may put some people at a higher risk for developing this disease.
Radiation therapy. Children who have previously received radiation therapy are at a higher risk.
Virus. Children who have the Epstein-Barr virus as well as AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome are at a higher risk as well.
A solid lump or mass, usually in the trunk, arms or legs
Other symptoms depend upon the location of the tumor and if it is interfering with other bodily functions
Rarely causes fever, weight loss or night sweats
If your child has any of these symptoms, please see his/her doctor.
Diagnosing Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcoma
If symptoms are present, your child's doctor will complete a physical exam and will prescribe additional tests to find the cause of the symptoms. Tests may include chest x-rays, biopsy, CT (or CAT) scan and/or an MRI.
Once soft tissue sarcoma is found, additional tests will be performed to determine the stage (progress) of the cancer. Treatment will depend upon the type, location and stage of the disease.
Once the diagnosis of cancer is confirmed, and the type and stage of the disease has been determined, your child's doctor will work with you, your child, and appropriate specialists to plan the best treatment. Current treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.