Sarcoma is a type of cancer that originates in the bones or soft tissue. Soft tissue sarcoma (STS) most often begins in the arms and legs but can also occur in other body parts.
This article looks at STS in the leg, symptoms, diagnosis, and more.
The types that most commonly occur in the leg include:
- alveolar soft-part sarcoma
- clear cell sarcoma
- epithelioid sarcoma
- fibromyxoid sarcoma, low grade
- myxofibrosarcomas, low grade
- undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma
STS in the leg can cause a lump that:
- feels painful or tender
- continues to get bigger
- grows larger than 2 inches, or about the size of a golf ball
However, the lump may or may not be painful. The absence of pain does not indicate that the lump is benign, so a person must contact a healthcare professional if they notice any new or growing lumps on their body.
It is important for doctors to diagnose STS in the leg as early as possible to prevent it from spreading.
A doctor will ask a person about their medical history and symptoms. They may also perform a physical exam.
After this, they may use imaging technology and biopsies to diagnose STS.
Imaging tests, such as X-rays and CT scans, produce images of the inside of a person’s body. These can
Other imaging tests doctors may use to diagnose STS in the leg include X-rays and ultrasound scans. They may perform these in one area.
If they find STS in the leg, a doctor may recommend a chest X-ray to check whether the cancer has spread to the lungs.
A biopsy is a minor procedure in which a healthcare professional removes a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope.
The outlook for STS in the leg depends on several factors, including:
- the stage of cancer at diagnosis
- a person’s overall health
- how deep the tumor is
- the treatment a person receives
- how the STS responds to treatment
If doctors catch STS early, the outlook is typically favorable. STS in the arm or leg or on the surface of the trunk usually has a better outlook than STS that starts in other body parts.
The table below shows the survival rates for STS. The information is from people who received an STS diagnosis between
|SEER stage||Stage description||5-year relative survival rate|
|localized||Cancer is present only in the part of the body where it started, such as the leg.||81%|
|regional||Cancer has spread from the leg to nearby structures or lymph nodes.||56%|
|distant||Cancer has spread from the leg to distant organs or body parts, such as the lungs.||15%|
|all SEER stages combined||This is the average survival rate for all the above stages combined.||65%|
A 5-year relative survival rate compares people with the same type and stage of STS to those in the general population.
For example, a person with localized STS is, on average, around 81% as likely to live for 5 years after diagnosis as someone without STS is to live for those 5 years.
It is important to note that these figures are based on statistics from previous years. As treatment improves, people may have a better outlook than those who received a diagnosis 5 or more years ago.
Read on to learn about some of the most commonly asked questions about STS in the leg.
What does sarcoma in the leg feel like?
STS in the leg may feel like swelling or a lump in the leg that continues to grow.
People may often develop this lump deep in the body tissues, so it may not be obvious at first.
Is sarcoma on the leg curable?
Whether STS in the leg is curable
STS in the leg or arm or on the surface of the trunk may have a better outlook than STS that starts in other body areas.
How fast does sarcoma in the leg grow?
STS in the leg may grow over a period of
STS is an
Therefore, STS can start in the leg.