Surgery for Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Surgery is the main treatment for soft tissue sarcoma that hasn’t metastasized (spread). To make sure that the cancer doesn’t return, it’s important for us to remove the entire tumor and any surrounding organs or tissues that might have cancer cells in them.

Few surgeons are as experienced as ours. We operate on such a large number of people (approximately 600) with soft tissue sarcoma each year, and frequently perform procedures in people who aren’t eligible for treatment elsewhere.

MSK surgeons are often able to remove soft tissues sarcomas considered inoperable at other cancer centers.

We’ve pioneered techniques for controlling soft tissue sarcoma tumors without the need to remove (amputate) limbs; we’re able to do this for more than nine out of ten of our patients. New reconstructive techniques make it possible for us to perform extensive, complex operations while preserving the function of your nerves, blood vessels, and muscle.

As we continue to study soft tissue sarcomas, we’ve discovered that sarcoma subtypes have different growth patterns and levels of risk for spreading. Since it’s helpful to know how likely your particular tumor is to return or spread before we operate or treat it in any way, we’ve developed a surgical tool that helps predict this. Armed with these insights, we can help choose the most effective treatment plan for you.

Recurrent or Metastatic Sarcoma

If your sarcoma returns in the same area where it was surgically removed, we may be able to cure it with another operation, possibly followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. We make these treatment decisions on a case-by-case basis depending on the specific circumstances of your disease. Sometimes we even recommend surgery after the disease has spread.

If you’re unable to have surgery for some reason, we may recommend chemotherapy or enrollment in a clinical trial testing new treatments, such as vaccines or therapies that stimulate the immune system to attack the cancer.