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Tests for gene changes

Find out about tests for genetic changes (mutations) in soft tissue sarcoma. They are called cytogenetic tests.

What cytogenetic tests look for

Tests that look at the chromosomes and genes in the cancer cells are called cytogenetic tests. These tests check if there are any genetic changes (mutations) in the cells. This information helps your doctor to plan your treatment. 

Why you might have them

After diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma, your doctor might want to do some tests on the sarcoma cells. 

There are many different types of soft tissue sarcoma. It can sometimes be difficult to tell one from another, even for a very experienced pathologist. Tests can be useful for telling a Ewing's sarcoma from other types of sarcoma, such as small cell sarcomas. This is important because Ewing's sarcoma needs different treatments from other types of sarcoma

Detailed tests on the genes within the sarcoma cells can help find out exactly what type of sarcoma it is. This can help your doctors  decide on the best treatment for you.

Getting your results

Your scan will be looked at by a specialist doctor and you should get your results within 1 or 2 weeks. You won't get any results at the time of the scan. 

Waiting for test results can make you anxious. Ask your doctor or nurse how long it will take to get them. Contact them if you haven’t heard anything after a couple of weeks.

You might have the contact details for a specialist nurse. You can contact them for information and support if you need to. It may help to talk to a close friend or relative about how you feel. 

For support and information, you can call the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040. The lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Contact the doctor that arranged the test if you haven't heard anything after a couple of weeks.