Soft tissue sarcoma

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Treatments for stage 1 soft tissue sarcoma

The following are treatment options for stage 1 soft tissue sarcoma. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and your type of soft tissue sarcoma. They will work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Surgery

Surgery is the primary treatment for stage 1 soft tissue sarcoma. Wide local excision is used to remove the tumour along with a margin of healthy tissue around it. If the tumour is smaller than 5 cm, surgery may be the only treatment needed.

Limb-sparing surgery may be used to remove tumours from a limb. In very rare cases, amputation may be needed even if the tumour is small.

For tumours of the retroperitoneum (the area at the back of the abdomen), trunk, head or neck, radiation therapy may be used in addition to surgery to remove the tumour. It may be given before or after surgery.

Radiation therapy

You may be offered radiation therapy for stage 1 soft tissue sarcoma. Radiation therapy may be given before or after surgery.

If a tumour in a limb is larger than 5 cm, radiation therapy may be given before surgery to make the tumour easier to remove. This is called neoadjuvant radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy may be given after surgery if there are cancer cells in the tissue removed along with the tumour (called positive surgical margins) and re-resection (more surgery) is not possible. Radiation therapy can lower the chance that the tumour will come back, or recur.

For tumours of the retroperitoneum, trunk, head or neck, radiation therapy may be given before surgery to stop a tumour from growing. If there are positive surgical margins, radiation therapy may also be given after surgery to treat the cancer cells left behind.

Tumours that can’t be removed with surgery are described as unresectable. Radiation therapy may be offered for unresectable tumours.

Chemotherapy

You may be offered chemotherapy for a tumour that can’t be removed with surgery (unresectable).

Clinical trials

You may be asked if you want to join a clinical trial for soft tissue sarcoma. Find out more about clinical trials.

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