Symptoms & Signs

Sarcomas can start in any part of the body

Soft Tissue Sarcomas Are Hard To Spot, Because They Can Grow Anywhere In Your Body. Most Often, The First Sign Is A Painless Lump. As The Lump Gets Bigger, It Might Press Against Nerves Or Muscles And Make You Uncomfortable Or Give You Trouble Breathing, Or Both. There Are No Tests That Can Find These Tumors Before They Cause Symptoms That You Notice.

Osteosarcoma can show obvious early symptoms, including:

  • Pain off and on in the affected bone, which may be worse at night

  • Swelling, which often starts weeks after the pain

  • A limp, if the sarcoma is in your leg

Children and young adults get osteosarcoma more often than adults. And because healthy, active children and teens often have pain and swelling in their arms and legs, osteosarcoma might be mistaken for growing pains or a sports injury. If your child’s pain doesn’t get better, gets worse at night, and is in one arm or leg rather than both, talk to a doctor.


Adults who have this kind of pain should see a doctor right away.



A new lump or a lump that is growing (anywhere on your body)



A new lump or a lump that is growing (anywhere on your body)


Diagnosing Sarcoma 

If your doctor thinks you may have a sarcoma, you’ll probably need a full exam and tests, including:

  • A sample of cells from the tumor, called a biopsy

  • Imaging tests, such as a CT scan, an ultrasound, or an MRI, to help see inside your body

  • A bone scan, if you might have osteosarcoma


Sarcoma Treatments

How your sarcoma is treated depends on what type you have, where in your body it is, how developed it is, and whether or not it has spread to other parts of your body, or metastasized.


Surgery takes the tumor out of your body. In most cases of osteosarcoma, the doctor can remove just the cancer cells, and you won’t need your arm or leg removed, too.

Radiation can shrink the tumor before surgery or kill cancer cells that are left after surgery. It could be the main treatment, if surgery isn’t an option. 

Chemotherapy drugs can also be used with or instead of surgery. Chemois often the first treatment when the cancer has spread. 

Targeted therapies are newer treatments that use drugs or manmade versions of antibodies from the immune system to block the growth of cancer cells while leaving normal cells undamaged.

Surviving Sarcoma

 Most people diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma are cured by surgery alone, if the tumor is low-grade; that means it is not likely to spread to other parts of the body. More aggressive sarcomas are harder to treat successfully.


The survival rate for osteosarcoma is between 56% and 90% if the cancer has not spread to distant parts of the body. It is more likely to be cured if all of the cancer can be removed by surgery.