What is Sarcoma?

Sarcoma is a rare cancer — accounting for just 1% of adult cancers — that arises from the tissues that glue the body together, such as bone, muscle, fat, tendons, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves and joint tissue.

Sarcomas usually occur in the extremities, abdomen and trunk. About half of sarcomas occur in arms and legs and about 20% develop in the abdomen or trunk. Because the body has these tissues everywhere, sarcomas can occur anywhere, and can take many forms. Superficial sarcomas lie within or directly underneath the skin. Others develop deep within the muscle, the chest or abdomen. The tumor may be as small as a pea (1 centimeter) to as large as a beach ball (40 centimeters).

Types of sarcomas

More than 50 subtypes of sarcoma are currently recognized. Each tumor subtype displays a unique behavior, has a unique biology and requires a unique treatment — making it important to seek personalized care from physicians who specialize in sarcoma. The Roswell Park sarcoma team diagnoses and treats:

  • Soft tissue sarcomas (of any location or organ)
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST)
  • Desmoid/aggressive fibromatosis
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP)
  • Atypical lipomas or intramuscular lipomas
  • Neurogenic tumors (neurofibroma and schwannoma)
  • Solitary fibrous tumor
  • Ganglioneuroma
  • Adrenal myelolipoma
  • Cutaneous leiomyosarcoma
  • Extramammary paget disease
  • Other unusual benign tumors such as: elastofibroma, hemangioma and lymphangioma

Signs of sarcoma Risk factors