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Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcoma Treatment

Stages of Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcoma

After childhood soft tissue sarcoma has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.

The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the soft tissue or to other parts of the body is called staging. There is no standard staging system for childhood soft tissue sarcoma. Two methods that are commonly used for staging are based on the amount of tumor remaining after surgery to remove the tumor and/or the grade and size of the tumor and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment.

The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:

The results of the sentinel lymph node biopsy and CT scan are viewed together with the results of the diagnostic tests and initial surgery to determine the stage of the soft tissue sarcoma.

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:

When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

One method used to stage childhood soft tissue sarcoma is based on how much cancer remains after surgery to remove the tumor and whether the cancer has spread:

Nonmetastatic childhood soft tissue sarcoma

In nonmetastatic childhood soft tissue sarcoma, the cancer has been partly or completely removed by surgery and has not spread to other parts of the body.

Metastatic childhood soft tissue sarcoma

Another method used to stage childhood soft tissue sarcoma is based on the size of the tumor and whether cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

This staging system is based on the following:


Pea, peanut, walnut, and lime show tumor sizes.
Pea, peanut, walnut, and lime show tumor sizes.

Stage I

Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB:

Stage II

Stage II is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB:

Stage III

In stage III, the tumor is either:

Stage IV

In stage IV, the tumor is any grade, any size, and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes. Cancer has spread to distant parts of the body such as the lungs.