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Soft Tissue Sarcomas

2014 N.E. Oncology Symposium Soft Tissue Sarcoma Lecture

Soft tissue sarcomas are rare tumors that come from muscle, fat, nerve, or other specialized cell types. These rare tumors most often grow as silent lumps or masses in the arms, legs, or body cavities. Symptoms may be minimal and depend on the tumor location.

For sarcomas that arise deep in the abdominal cavity or retroperitoneum, nausea, abdominal pain, or an increase in abdominal girth can occur. Most sarcomas occur in individuals with no particular risk factors. There are rare familial syndromes associated with sarcoma, and those who have been exposed to radiation are at higher than normal risk.


With only approximately 12,000 soft tissue sarcomas diagnosed in the United States annually, being cared for by a team with experience and expertise with these rare tumors is critical. At the Roger Williams Medical Center, members of the surgical oncology team have trained at centers where the volume of sarcoma cases is among the highest in the world. Dr. Steven C. Katz was the Kristen Ann Carr Sarcoma Fellow in 2009, which is awarded to surgeons with a particular interest and expertise in sarcoma care. Our team understand the patterns of sarcoma growth, and therefore, the extent of surgery necessary to achieve optimal outcomes.

By ensuring that patients undergo the most appropriate surgical procedures, we can maximize the chance for cure, decrease the risk of the tumor growing back, and preserve function and quality of life. Our surgical oncologists are trained to integrate other forms of therapy, such as radiation and chemotherapy for patients in whom surgery alone is not enough. Finally, our sarcoma team, including physical therapists and social support experts, will work with you both during and after treatment to ensure that your recovery is as successful as the treatment.