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You know that lump on your leg? The one you had checked out? If it’s still there, you might want to have someone take another look.

It may just be a run-of-the-mill bump. But it also could be something more serious. Malignant (cancerous) soft tissue tumors can look like other conditions. And because they’re rare, it often means this cancer of your musculoskeletal system can be misdiagnosed.

At Cleveland Clinic, we have a team of expert healthcare providers dedicated to diagnosing and treating these kinds of tumors (also known as sarcomas). We’re here to help you find answers, confirm your diagnosis and provide the most personalized treatment and best possible results.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Malignant Soft Tissue Tumor Care?

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Skilled collaborative providers:

Our team-based approach to care means you’ll see providers from different specialties. Your care team works together to make sure your treatment is personalized to your specific needs and diagnosis — so you can get the best possible results.

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Convenient care:

You’ll quickly get the tests you need and start treatment sooner at Cleveland Clinic. In fact, we consistently beat the national time-to-treatment average (time between diagnosis and the start of therapy). Meet our team.

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Innovation and research:

We participate in clinical trials and national registries to learn as much as we can about soft tissue tumors. By sharing our discoveries, we can help improve treatments and results for soft tissue cancers.

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Virtual visits:

Not all appointments need to be in person. You can check in with your provider to talk about your progress or next steps from home on a virtual visit. All you need is a smartphone, table or computer and an internet connection.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Diagnosing Malignant Soft Tissue Tumors at Cleveland Clinic

Malignant soft tissue tumors grow in connective tissues that support your entire body — muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, fat and blood and lymph vessels. They can show up anywhere in your body. Most often, you’ll find them in your arms and legs.

When sarcomas are small, painless and slow growing, it can be easy to overlook them. Or maybe not think anything’s suspicious. That’s why they’re often misdiagnosed as benign (noncancerous) masses like lipomas.

There are roughly 50 kinds of malignant soft tissue tumors. Common ones include:

Left untreated, some of these tumors can grow very large before becoming painful and causing other, more noticeable symptoms. So, it’s important to have healthcare providers who’re experienced in recognizing the signs of sarcomas and confirming the right diagnosis.

What to expect at your first visit

We understand you might feel worried about what’s next. That’s why we ease into your first appointment. We start by talking with each other. It’s important for us to understand what’s been going on. You’ll want to be prepared to share:

  • When you first noticed the lump.
  • Where the lump is.
  • If the lump is getting larger or painful.
  • What other symptoms you’re having.
  • How your symptoms are affecting your life.
  • If any other family members have or have had tumors.

After you and your provider talk for a bit and get to know each other better, you’ll have a physical exam. Your healthcare provider will check for visible lumps under your skin, especially on your arms and legs. They may also check other areas of your body to feel for lumps that may be deeper in your body. Additionally, your provider may order tests to get a better look at what’s going on.

Testing for malignant soft tissue tumors

We confirm a malignant soft tissue tumor diagnosis and stage it by doing a combination of the following tests:

Second opinions for malignant soft tissue tumors

No one wants to hear the words, “You have cancer.” But when it happens, you’ll want to make sure you’re working with a team of healthcare providers you trust to give you the best possible treatment.

Getting a second opinion can help you feel in control of your care. That’s why we encourage them at Cleveland Clinic. We know cancer doesn’t wait, so we do our best to see you as soon as possible when you reach out to us for a second opinion. Our team of experts helps you better understand your diagnosis and what treatments may be the right choice for you. Knowing you’re in the most capable and compassionate hands can give you some peace of mind about next steps.

Meet Our Malignant Soft Tissue Tumors Team

We personalize your entire experience at Cleveland Clinic, starting with your care team. Your team is made up of providers from different specialties. All are handpicked to meet your unique needs. Your team may include:


We work as one team — providing expert care at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio for adult and pediatric patients and in Florida for adult patients. Depending on the severity of your tumor, you may be able to see a provider close to home, or you may need to come to our main campus for more complex care.

Treating Malignant Soft Tissue Tumors at Cleveland Clinic

Your care team works together to create a personalized care plan built around your unique diagnosis. Treatment depends on how large the tumor is, where it is and if it’s spread to other areas of your body.

If the cancer hasn’t spread, we may do surgery to remove it. If the cancer has spread to other areas of your body or is too deep or large to remove with surgery, you may receive a combination of treatments, including:

Surgery may also be combined with these treatments. You may only have one or two treatments. Or you may need several therapies working together to attack the cancer cells and keep them from coming back.

Taking the Next Step

When a small lump becomes a big cancer, you’ll want the best possible healthcare team on your side. Cleveland Clinic’s malignant soft tissue tumors experts are here to make sure your treatment matches your specific needs. And you’ll get all of the compassionate support you need to move forward into each new step of this journey.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s malignant soft tissue tumors experts is easy. We’re here to help you get care.

Make an Appointment

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s malignant soft tissue tumors experts is easy. We’re here to help you get care.

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Learning you have cancer can be stressful, shocking and challenging. From the moment you get the news, you're a survivor. As you face the challenges that go along with cancer treatment and recovery — physical and emotional — we’ll be right there with you.

At Cleveland Clinic, survivorship care is one part of your journey. We offer a wide range of services, resources, clinics and support groups to help with any physical, emotional, financial and spiritual needs you might have related to your cancer diagnosis. Lending a helping hand along the way, we want you to not only survive, but thrive on this journey and beyond.

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