Fibrosarcoma is a very rare soft-tissue cancerous tumor, or sarcoma. If you develop fibrosarcoma, you have a soft tissue tumor in the tissues that wrap around your tendons, ligaments and muscles. There are two types of fibrosarcoma: infantile or congenital fibrosarcoma and adult-type fibrosarcoma. This article focuses on adult-type fibrosarcoma.
Fibrosarcoma is a very rare soft-tissue cancerous tumor, or sarcoma. Fibrous soft tissue is one of several soft tissues that keep your body together. Fibrous soft tissue is a connective tissue. Like its name, fibrous soft tissue connects parts of your body. For example, your tendons attach muscles to bones. Your ligaments attach bones to bones.
If you develop fibrosarcoma, you have a soft tissue tumor in the tissues that wrap around your tendons, ligaments and muscles. There are two types of fibrosarcoma: infantile or congenital fibrosarcoma and adult-type fibrosarcoma. This article focuses on adult-type fibrosarcoma.
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Fibrosarcoma is usually diagnosed in adults between the ages of 20 and 60. Men are slightly more likely than women to develop fibrosarcoma. Fibrosarcoma typically affects your thighs, knees, arms and trunk.
Because fibrosarcoma develops in deep soft tissues, you might not notice any changes in your body until the tumor grows bigger. You may notice a large fibrosarcoma tumor for the following reasons:
Between 40% and 60% of people who have fibrosarcoma are alive five years after diagnosis. Researchers are investigating several new ways to slow fibrosarcoma’s growth.
Other soft tissue or bone cancers include:
It takes time for fibrosarcoma symptoms to surface. And when they do, they can resemble symptoms of other, less serious conditions. Typical symptoms of fibrosarcoma include:
Researchers haven’t pinpointed exactly what causes fibrosarcoma. But they have identified some inherited conditions that might increase your risk for developing fibrosarcoma:
Other potential risk factors are:
First, providers will perform several tests. They’ll use what they learn to establish a stage and grade for your fibrosarcoma. Tests might include:
Providers assign cancer grades based on what your tumor’s cells look like when viewed under a microscope. They look for changes in your cells and how closely your cells resemble normal or healthy cells.
Cancer cells that have few changes and look very similar to normal cells are low-grade cells. Cancer cells with many changes and that don’t look anything like normal cells are high-grade cells. The higher the cell grade, the more aggressive the tumor.
Cancer stages measures how far your cancer has spread. A small tumor found in just one area of your body is considered an early stage cancer. Cancer that’s spread throughout your body is a late-stage cancer.
You can reduce your risk for fibrosarcoma by understanding your family medical history. Fibrosarcoma appears to be related to some inherited conditions. If your family has a history of one of those conditions, you should ask your healthcare provider about monitoring your health for signs of fibrosarcoma so it can be diagnosed and treated early.
Many fibrosarcoma tumors aren’t diagnosed until they have grown large enough to be noticeable soft lumps or affect your nerves or circulation. Like many types of cancer, early diagnosis can lead to more positive prognosis or expected outcome.
Between 40% and 60% of people treated for fibrosarcoma are alive five years after diagnosis. But researchers have identified treatments that could help slow the tumor’s growth and make the tumor more sensitive to chemotherapy.
Many times cancer makes people feel as if they’ve lost control of their lives. Committing to self-care is one way to overcome those feelings. Here are some things you can do during and after your treatment for fibrosarcoma:
Generally speaking, you’ll see your provider every three months for the first two years after you finish treatment and then at longer intervals until four or five years after your treatment.
You should always contact your provider any time you notice new lumps or have new pain. Fibrosarcoma can come back after treatment or metastasize (spread to another area your body). While lumps and pain might not be cancer, you should see your provider so they can evaluate your symptoms.
Many cancer treatments affect your immune system, increasing your chance of developing infections. Symptoms that might require an emergency room visit during treatment include:
Fibrosarcoma is a rare form of cancer. You might have questions about a cancer that few people know about. Here are basic questions you might want to ask your healthcare provider:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Learning you have a rare form cancer might launch a flood of emotions, from feeling afraid and anxious to feeling angry. Think about giving yourself some time to let those feelings flow. Doing that might help you to move on to next steps, such as helping your friends and family understand your diagnosis and how they can support you. If you’re feeling stuck or trapped in an emotional riptide, ask your healthcare provider for help. They understand what you’re going through and will be able to help you stay focused on your health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/08/2021.
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