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Childhood soft tissue sarcoma is a group of cancers that form in connective tissue, such as ligaments and tendons, as well as the skin, fat, blood vessels and nerves that connect, surround or support parts of the body.
Soft tissue sarcomas are rare and account for about 7% of all childhood tumors. Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children. This type tends to develop in skeletal muscles.
Some childhood soft tissue sarcomas can be cured depending on many factors. Sarcomas that develop in infancy tend to have a better chance of being cured than those that develop in the teen or young adult years. Other factors include whether the tumor can be removed surgically, its location, likelihood to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body and whether it already has spread.
Childhood soft tissue sarcomas often have no significant symptoms and start as a painless, firm lump that gets bigger over time. The lump may be under the skin often on an arm or leg, the chest or the abdomen. Symptoms such as pain or weakness can develop as the tumor grows, pushing on organs, nerves, muscles, blood vessels or other structures.
Other conditions may cause the same signs and symptoms. Check with your pediatrician if your child experiences these types of symptoms.
Pinpointing the type of soft tissue sarcoma and creating an effective treatment plan requires extensive experience with all forms of the disease. Getting viewpoints from many perspectives and specialties can lead to better outcomes.
The board-certified and fellowship-trained oncologists at Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, collaborate to examine every pediatric cancer patient’s case. The oncology team comes together at regular conferences to share viewpoints from various perspectives that help determine the best course of treatment. It’s like getting second, third and fourth opinions all at once.
Our physicians actively conduct clinical trials and publish their discoveries about new ways to identify and treat sarcomas and other pediatric cancers. By staying at the forefront of sarcoma research, our physicians are experienced with newly approved therapies and can provide access to trials of experimental treatments.
Norton Children’s Hospital’s cancer care program is one of the oldest oncology programs in the U.S. that has been continuously accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. Backed by our pediatric physicians’ more than 100 years of combined expertise, we have a proven cancer care team of leading specialists, including oncologists, surgeons, nurses, social workers, chaplains, behaviorists, therapists and pharmacists. This skilled, multidisciplinary team is entirely focused on the needs of your child and family.
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