Find out about the diseases and illnesses we specialise in

Adult Sarcomas

Sarcoma

Sarcomas are an uncommon type of cancer that account for only 1-2% of all tumours in adults. They also represent a complex entity, given that there are more than 70 types, with differences in terms of their diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Accordingly, sarcoma patients need to be assessed by multidisciplinary committees with vast experience in this disease.

Description

Sarcomas are a set of rare tumours whose origin lies in the soft tissues of the body or the bones

Soft tissues include muscles, nerves, vessels and fat. These tissues may also form part of organs.

The infrequency of sarcomas makes it necessary to handle clinical cases and their treatment on an individual basis, which generally involves a decision-making process that is shared by several professionals with expertise in this disease and the patients themselves.

The correct diagnosis of a sarcoma and its specific type is the first critical step to be taken, as it will form the basis of the clinical handling of the patient, as well as the precise information about the nature of their disease.

 

The symptoms

In contrast to many cancers, sarcomas do not usually generate symptoms in their early stages of growth. This is because they develop in areas of the body in which they can progressively grow by pushing against structures and organs.

The first symptom may be a painless lump. The majority of lumps are benign, but if it grows quickly, hurts, is deep and/or measures more than 5 centimetres, it is more likely to be a sarcoma. Sometimes the symptoms may appear as a result of excessive compression of the body’s various tissues and organs. 

 

Who is affected by the condition? 

There is no clear factor that triggers a sarcoma. Certain inherited genetic syndromes may predispose a person to being more likely to develop a type of sarcoma, such as Li–Fraumeni syndrome, neurofibromatosis or familial adenomatous polyposis.

 

Diagnosis

One of the most important steps is to confirm the clinical suspicion of sarcoma and identify its specific type. This requires a biopsy to obtain a fragment of the tumour so it can be studied by Pathological Anatomy. 

It is sometimes diagnosed with molecular techniques in association with radiological tests like x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or PET-CT.

 

Typical treatment

The treatment of all sarcoma patients is always agreed by multidisciplinary committees composed of professionals with expertise in sarcomas from a variety of the services of our centre: Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Traumatology, General Surgery, Radiology and Pathological Anatomy.

Given that sarcomas may arise in any part of the body, occasionally other specialists may also participate.

The treatment of sarcoma patients may include:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy 
  • or a combination of the above.  

The most suitable procedure depends on a number of different factors in addition to the specific type of sarcoma. Targeted therapy and immunotherapy play a very important role in certain types of sarcoma. Finally, there are also clinical trials that experiment with new therapies.

 

Standard tests

The commonest are radiological tests like those described above (x-ray, CT, MRI and PET-CT). 

 

Prevention

As there is no specific cause of sarcomas, in the majority of cases there are no specific measures that can be taken beyond the usual healthy living habits recommended by the World Health Organization. 

Patients with inherited genetic syndromes, however, are advised to undergo monitoring in specialist units.

Hospital o serveis complementaris relacionats

General Hospital

Where to find it

Traumatology, Rehabilitation and Burns Hospital

Where to find it

Cross-departmental services

Where to find it
      
Related professionals
Dr. Josep
Tabernero Caturla
Head of Department
Medical Oncology
Dr. Joan
Minguell Monyart
Head of Department
Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Reconstructive Surgery of the Musculoskeletal System
Sra. Teresa
Sanclemente Boli
Nursing Supervisor
Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Dr. Enric
Castellet Feliu
Head of Section
Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Dr. Joan
Carles Galcerán
Head of Section
Medical Oncology
Lead Researcher
Genitourinary, Central Nervous System (CNS) Tumours, Sarcoma and cancer of unknown primary site programme
Dra. Cristina
Saura Manich
Head of Unit
Medical Oncology
Clinical Researcher
Breast cancer and melanoma group
Sra. Silvia
Bosch Raventos
Nursing Supervisor
Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Dra. Enriqueta
Felip
Head of Section
Medical Oncology
Lead Researcher
Thoracic tumours and head and neck cancer group
Dr. César
Serrano García
Doctor
Medical Oncology
Lead Researcher
Genitourinary, Central Nervous System (CNS) Tumours, Sarcoma and cancer of unknown primary site programme
Dr. Daniel
Pacha Vicente
Medical Coordinator
Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Dra. Inés Mª
de Torres Ramírez
Head of Unit
Pathological anatomy
Researcher
Biomedical Research in Urology
Dra. Stefania
Landolfi
Dra. Irene
Gallardo Calero
Doctor
Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology