Malignant and Benign Tumors of the Soft Tissue

Tumors can form when cells divide and a mass of abnormal cells binds together. Tumors of the soft tissue are more common than bone tumors and can grow almost anywhere in the body –between blood vessels, ligaments, nerves and muscles.

Malignant, or cancerous, soft tissue tumors are known as sarcomas. Sarcomas are rare and make up only about 1% of all cancerous tumors. Types of malignant soft tissue tumors include:

  • Angiosarcoma
  • Ewing's sarcoma
  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Hemangiopericytoma
  • Liposarcoma
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH)
  • Neurosarcoma
  • Rhabdosarcoma
  • Synovial sarcoma

One-third of all soft tissue tumors will be benign, or non-cancerous, and are primarily made of fat. They often occur just beneath the skin as a soft, painless mass, which grows slowly over months or years. Common benign soft tissue tumors include:

  • Angiolipoma
  • Fibrous histiocytoma
  • Hemangiomas
  • Lipomas
  • Myxoma
  • Neurofibroma
  • Neurolilemmona
  • Schwannomas

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Signs and symptoms of a soft tissue tumor, include:

  • A new or growing lump anywhere on your body
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in your stool
  • Pain
  • Unusual swelling in arms or legs

To diagnose soft tissue tumors, the experts at Penn State Health may use several types of imaging technology including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Other tests include:

  • Bloodwork
  • Image guided biopsy may to analyze bone tissue
  • Urine test

Your outlook will depend on the size and location of the tumor. Early diagnosis of a tumor is especially important if it is malignant. The earlier the cancer is found, you may have more treatment options available and clinical trials can expand your treatment options.

Our Experts in Care

When it comes to soft tissue tumors, no two patients are alike. Our specialists at Penn State Health develop a specific treatment and rehabilitation plan that best meet your needs.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Multidisciplinary Team Approach

The musculoskeletal oncology team combines the expertise of a multidisciplinary team for diagnosis, treatment and reconstruction of tumors affecting the musculoskeletal system of both children and adults. The team is composed of fellowship-trained subspecialists from orthopaedics, radiology, pathology, adult and pediatric oncology and radiation therapy.

Innovative Treatment Options

The team at Penn State Health uses many innovative treatment options, including limb-sparing procedures and soft tissue reconstruction. More than 150 surgical procedures for musculoskeletal tumors are performed each year at Penn State Health.

Support Groups

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

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Convenient Locations

Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

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