Sarcomas | Miami Cancer Institute | Baptist Health South Florida
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Sarcomas

It takes a rare type of healthcare team to treat a rare form of cancer. Each type of sarcoma is unique, requiring expert detection, therapies and rehabilitation for a successful outcome.

Miami Cancer Institute’s experienced team of cancer care specialists take a patient-centered approach to diagnosing and treating sarcoma.​

About Sarcoma

Sarcomas grow in connective tissue -- cells that connect or support other kinds of tissue in your body. These tumors are most common in the bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, nerves, fat and blood vessels.​

Sarcoma is rare – about one out of 100 cases of adult cancer is sarcoma. Although there are more than 50 kinds of sarcoma, they are grouped into two main categories: soft-tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma (osteosarcoma). 

Among the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in adults are gastrointestinal stromal tumor, undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma, liposarcoma (fat cells) and leiomyosarcoma. Bone sarcoma is more prevalent in children and young adults.

Sarcoma Risk Factors

The following factors can increase your risk of sarcoma:​

  • Family history of sarcoma
  • Previous cancer radiation or chemotherapy
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Rare genetic disorders, including:​
    • Von Recklinghausen disease
    • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
    • Gardner syndrome
    • Inherited retinoblastoma
    • Paget’s disease
    • Werner syndrome
    • Gorlin syndrome
    • Tuberous sclerosis
Sarcoma Risk Factors

In most cases, sarcoma does not have symptoms in the early stages. If symptoms are present, they may include:

  • ​Swelling or lump under the skin, most often in the arm or leg.
  • Pain, if the tumor is pressing on muscles or nerves.
  • Bloody or black stools.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Numbness or weakness in arm or leg.
  • Bone fractures.

Accurate testing for sarcoma is essential for treatment planning, and Miami Cancer Institute is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and highly skilled specialists to ensure a comprehensive diagnosis.

To diagnose sarcoma, your doctor will perform a physical exam, review your health and family history and use a combination of tests, including:

  • Imaging tests, such as X-ray, bone scan, MRI, CT and PET scans.
  • Blood tests.
  • Biopsy to examine suspicious tissue. Tests may include cytogenesis analysis and immunohistochemistry.
  • Genetic counseling and testing​.

Miami Cancer Institute provides you with the most advanced treatments for sarcoma with the least impact on your body. You will receive care from a team of experts who work together to customize your comprehensive treatment plan. Among those experts are support specialists who help you and your family achieve and maintain a better quality of life during and after your cancer treatment.

Sarcomas usually are treated with a combination of therapies that may include:

  • Surgery, including limb-sparing surgery whenever possible. If a segment of bone is removed, it can be replaced with a bone graft (a portion of bone from another part of the body or another person) or with a prosthesis made of metal and other materials.​
  • Chemotherapy, used as a main treatment or with surgery or radiation.
  • Radiation therapy, performed before surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to destroy remaining cancer cells.
  • Proton therapy, which precisely delivers high radiation doses to the tumor site, sparing nearby healthy tissue and vital organs.
  • Targeted therapy, using drugs to prevent sarcoma cells from growing. This therapy often is used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
  • Immunotherapy, which stimulates the patient’s own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
  • Clinical trials​ that may provide new treatment options.