Soft tissue sarcomas
This section is for teenagers and young adults and is about a type of cancer called a soft tissue sarcoma.
There are different types of soft tissue sarcoma, and the information in this section covers rhabdomyosarcomas, synovial sarcomas and fibrosarcomas, which are the most common types in teenagers. But if you have a different type and want to know more, please contact us.
We also have more info about:
If you're looking for information about soft tissue sarcomas in people of all ages, please see our general soft tissue sarcoma section.
Soft tissue sarcomas are cancers that develop from cells in the soft, supporting tissues of the body. There are many different types, but the ones that tend to affect teenagers are:
There are also bone sarcomas. You can find out more about these in our bone cancer section.
Signs and symptoms of soft tissue sarcomas
The symptoms will depend on where the sarcoma is:
If it’s in an arm or leg, symptoms include a lump or swelling in the limb. This is usually painless, but not always.
If it’s in the tummy (abdomen), symptoms include a painful, swollen tummy, and problems going to the toilet to poo (called constipation).
If it’s in the chest, symptoms include breathlessness and pain in your chest.
If it’s in the head or neck, symptoms include a lump, a blockage and discharge from the nose or throat. Occasionally an eye may become swollen and stick out a bit.
If it’s in your bladder, symptoms include pain in the lower tummy, finding it difficult to wee (pass urine), and having blood in your wee.
You may also have other symptoms like tiredness, loss of appetite or weight loss.
If you have any of these symptoms, or are worried that you may have a sarcoma, the first thing to do is to see your family doctor (GP). They'll examine you and refer you to a hospital if they think you need to see a specialist doctor.
Remember - most people with the symptoms listed here won’t have a sarcoma.
We don't know what causes sarcomas in teenagers and young adults.
People often think a knock or injury might have caused a sarcoma, but there’s no evidence for this.
Remember that nothing you’ve done has caused the cancer.
If you're worried about soft tissue sarcoma
If you think you might have any of the symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma, you should go straight to your GP. They'll talk to you about your symptoms, examine you and can arrange tests or refer you to see a specialist.