Soft Tissue Sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas are relatively common forms of cancer, arising from connective tissue cells such as muscles and nerves. This form of cancer primarily arises on the limbs or trunk of the body, but can also be identified in the internal organs. These tumors are very locally invasive, meaning that they infiltrate into the normal tissues surrounding the cancer. However, they rarely spread to distant sites of the body (metastasis). The likelihood of metastasis depends on the grade of the tumor, with low grade (grades 1 and 2) soft tissue sarcomas being unlikely to spread and high grade (grade 3) sarcomas having up to a 40% chance of metastasis. Because they are so locally infiltrative, wide surgical margins (a minimum margin of 3 cm of normal tissue) is necessary to preventing local recurrence. When wide surgical margins are not possible, radiation therapy following surgery is the standard of care. For grade 3 soft tissue sarcomas, aggressive local therapy with surgery +/- radiation therapy as well as chemotherapy or other systemic therapies are indicated. Unfortunately, there are no highly effective systemic therapies that regularly prevent progression of metastatic disease. Such is also the case in people with high grade metastatic soft tissue sarcomas. The mission of the CCOGC is to further our knowledge of this form of cancer to provide novel therapies to improve both the quality and quantity of life of our patients.

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