Symptoms of soft tissue sarcomas | Cancer Research UK
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Symptoms of soft tissue sarcomas

Men and woman discussing soft tissue sarcomas

This page tells you about the symptoms of soft tissue sarcomas. 

In their early stages soft tissue sarcomas do not usually cause symptoms. As sarcomas can grow anywhere in the body, the symptoms will depend on where the cancer is. The main symptoms can include

  • A lump that is painless at first
  • Pain or soreness as the lump grows and presses against nerves and muscles

Of course, many people get most lumps and bumps and most of them will not be cancer. 

A lump is more likely to be a sarcoma if it 

  • Is big (for example, more than 5 cm across) or getting bigger
  • Is deep in the body tissues
  • Is painful
  • Occurs when you are older
  • Has come back after previous surgery to remove sarcoma

It is possible to have other symptoms from sarcoma, depending on where they are in the body. For example, a leiomyosarcoma in the womb may cause bleeding other than when you are having a period or after you have had your menopause.

Remember that all these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cancer. This is a rare disease, and it is much more likely that some other problem is causing your symptoms.

UK guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) help GPs decide who might have a soft tissue sarcoma and who should be seen urgently by a specialist.

The earlier a cancer is picked up, the easier it is to treat it and the more likely the treatment is to be successful. So it is important that you go to your GP as soon as possible if you notice worrying symptoms.

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Updated: 6 February 2015