Soft tissues of the body connect, support, and surround other body parts and organs. The soft tissues of the body include the following:
- A mix of bone and cartilage
- Fibrous tissue
- Tendons (bands of fibre that connect muscles to bones)
- Blood vessels
- Lymph vessels
- Tissues around joints (synovial tissue)
Soft tissue sarcomas can form almost anywhere in the body, including the head, neck, and trunk, but are most common in the arms, legs, abdomen, and retroperitoneum.
A few common soft tissue sarcomas:
- Angiosarcoma – A rare type of cancer that forms in the lining of the blood vessels and lymph vessels. Angiosarcoma can occur in areas that were treated with radiation therapy in the past.
- Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans – Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) starts in connective tissue cells in the middle layer of the skin (dermis). DFSP might look like a pimple or feel like a rough patch of skin at first, but as it grows, lumps of tissue (protuberans) may form near the surface of the skin.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) – a type of cancer that begins in the digestive system, most often in the stomach and small intestine. A GIST is a growth of cells that’s thought to form from a special type of nerve cells. These special nerve cells are in the walls of the digestive organs. They play a part in the process that moves food through the body. Small GISTs may cause no symptoms, and they may grow so slowly that they don’t cause problems at first. As a GIST grows, it can cause signs and symptoms.
- Leiomyosarcoma – begins in smooth muscle tissue, often in the abdomen or uterus. It starts as a growth of abnormal cells and grows quickly to invade and destroy normal body tissue. Signs and symptoms of leiomyosarcoma depend on where the cancer starts and might include pain, weight loss, and a growing lump or swelling that can be felt through the skin.
- Liposarcoma -begins in the fat cells. It can occur in any part of the body, but most cases occur in the muscles of the limbs or in the abdomen.