Your treatment options for soft tissue sarcoma will depend on the size, type and location of your tumor.
Surgery is a common treatment for soft tissue sarcoma. Surgery generally involves removing the cancer and some healthy tissue surrounding it.
When soft tissue sarcoma affects the arms and legs, radiation and chemotherapy may be considered to shrink the tumor to avoid amputation.
Radiation therapy Intraoperative radiation therapy Open pop-up dialog box Close Intraoperative radiation therapy Intraoperative radiation therapy
During intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), radiation is directed through the surgical incision onto a specific site. The dose of IORT can be much higher than is possible with standard radiation therapy given from the outside of the body.
Radiation therapy involves treating cancer with high-powered beams of energy. Options include:
- Before surgery. Radiation before surgery can help shrink the tumor so that it's easier to remove.
- During surgery. Intraoperative radiation allows a higher dose of radiation to be delivered directly to the target area, while sparing surrounding tissues.
- After surgery. Postoperative radiation can help kill any remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be administered by pill or through a vein (intravenously). Some forms of soft tissue sarcoma respond better to chemotherapy than do others. For instance, chemotherapy is often used to treat rhabdomyosarcoma.
Targeted drug treatment
Some types of soft tissue sarcoma have specific characteristics in their cells that can be attacked via targeted drug treatments. These medicines work better than chemotherapy and aren't nearly as toxic. Targeted treatments have been particularly helpful in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs).