Soft tissue tumors are more common than bone tumors. These tumors can be found almost anywhere on the body: within and between the muscles, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels. The difficulty with soft tumors is there can be a wide variance in how they look and behave. Tumors of the soft or connective tissues can be either malignant (cancerous or sarcomas) or benign (non-cancerous). Sarcoma tumors can invade nearby tissues, which can make them more difficult to remove and treat, increasing the risk of recurrence. If you or a loved one suspect that you may have a tumor, contact a orthopedic oncologist in Los Angeles as soon as possible.
In order to spot the symptoms of soft tissue tumors and know when to seek a doctor’s evaluation, it is important to learn from a renowned Los Angeles orthopedic oncologist like Dr. Daniel C. Allison. For a thorough evaluation, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Allison today.
Most Common Types of Soft Tissue Tumors
Lipoma – Lipomas are the most common type of benign tumor, which develops in the fat tissue just below the skin. Lipoma tumors are slow growing and do not usually have additional symptoms or require treatment unless they begin to exhibit pain or growth.
Angiolipoma – Angiolipomas are benign tumors that grow in adipose (fatty) tissue with vascular structures (blood vessels). Angiolipomas are most commonly found in the forearms, and if necessary, can be removed with surgery. Some Angiolipomas do not exhibit symptoms, while others may cause tenderness if palpated.
Fibroma – Fibromas, also known as fibroid or fibroid tumors, are made up of connective tissue. The most common type of fibroma is benign ovarian fibroid tumors, which are often detected during routine pelvic or gynecological exams. Since they are benign, fibroid tumors aren’t usually treated unless they grow larger or cause pain, where they can be removed surgically. Common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
- Abnormal bleeding between menstrual periods
- Pelvic pain
- Frequent urination
- Low back pain
- Pain during intercourse
Benign fibrous histiocytoma – Benign fibrous histiocytoma is a slow-growing, benign tumor usually found in the legs. However, they can also be found in the head, neck, torso, pelvis, abdomen, kidneys, or trachea. These tumors are typically painless, solitary tumors found deep below the skin but may appear as painful mass lesions after many years of growth.
Neurofibroma – Neurofibroma tumors can be found anywhere in the nervous system. Symptoms can depend on the location and size of the neurofibroma. Neurofibromas are typically painless and slow-growing, however, there can be some tenderness when light pressure is applied to the area of the growth. Additionally, if a motor or sensory nerve is involved, the associated function may be negatively impacted.
Schwannoma – Schwannomas are also known as benign nerve sheath tumors. Although schwannoma soft tissue tumors can arise from any nerve in the body, the most common areas include the nerves of the head and neck and those involved with moving the limbs. Common symptoms include a slow-growing mass and an electric-like shock sensation when the tumor area is touched.
Hemangioma – Hemangiomas are benign growths that form due to an abnormal collection of blood vessels. Hemangiomas can appear like a red birthmark on the face, as well as on the scalp, neck, and back. Hemangiomas don’t normally cause symptoms during or after their formation (which is usually in the womb). However, if hemangiomas grow large, in groups, or if they grow in a sensitive area, treatment may be necessary.
Giant cell tendon sheath (also known as giant-cell synovioma) – These benign tumors are commonly found on the hands, wrists, and fingers. Giant-Cell Synovioma can feel firm, hard, well-defined and, if the tumor is large, sometimes accompanied by a numb sensation or a loss of function.
As we’ve discussed, most tumors are benign, however, some are at risk for malignancy or soft tissue sarcoma. Any new lumps, changes in growth or pain should be examined by an orthopedic oncologist for an adequate evaluation, which will include a physical examination, possible MRI, and, in some cases, a biopsy for an accurate diagnosis.
Symptoms of Soft Tissue Sarcoma
The most common symptom of a soft tissue sarcoma is the existence of a lump or a mass, which is most likely growing and/or causing pain. There can be uncomfortable swelling, particularly if the sarcoma is located in the arms and legs.
Some tumors can limit an individual’s range of motion and mobility, particularly the sarcomas found in the hip, knee, shoulder or hands.
If a sarcoma tumor breaks through the skin, it may cause skin lesions.
Depending on where the sarcoma is located, there can be additional symptoms including abdominal pain, vomiting or constipation, while sarcomas in the uterus may cause vaginal bleeding and/or abdominal pain.
Learn more about sarcomas at cancer.gov.
Contact an Orthopedic Oncologist in Los Angeles Today
To learn more about symptoms of soft tissue tumors or to obtain a second opinion on a previous diagnosis, contact Dr. Daniel C. Allison in Los Angeles today at (310) 730-8008 to schedule a consultation. An early diagnosis can lead to a faster recovery and return to everyday life.
Next, learn about Why an Orthopedic Oncologist is Right for You.