What are sarcomas?

Sarcomas are cancers that occur in your body’s connective tissues. These tissues include blood vessels, bone, cartilage, fat and muscle.

We divide sarcomas into three broad groups:

  • Bone cancers

  • Gynecologic sarcomas (cancers that affect female reproductive organs, such as uterine sarcoma)

  • Soft tissue sarcomas

Pediatric sarcomas

A child squatting on a playground

Pediatric cancer services

With our expertise comes compassion. Our team considers you and your child part of our family. We will be by your side every step of the way. From diagnosis through treatment and into adulthood, we will care for your child as if they are our own.

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The specialized care you need

There are many types of sarcomas. So, getting the best care for these cancers means seeing the right specialists. You’ll find them at the UW Health | Carbone Cancer Center. Our team includes:

  • Gynecologic oncologists

  • Orthopedic surgeons

  • Medical oncologists

  • Radiation oncologists

Our experts work together to create a treatment plan that’s just right for you.

Treatment and research

We tailor sarcoma treatment to your cancer and your needs

Sarcoma treatment depends on the type of sarcoma you have and your goals. Other factors like where your cancer is located and whether it has spread come into play as we determine a treatment plan, as well.

Your treatment might include:

Our experts can use powerful chemicals to kill cancerous cells.

Extreme cold temperatures can freeze and kill cancer cells.

Our surgeons can remove as much of your cancer as possible. When we can, we use minimally invasive procedures. They involve smaller incisions than open surgery. They also can result in less pain and shorter hospital stays.

UW Health and UW Carbone Cancer Center are a nationally recognized research hub. Our specialized research team studies new treatments and looks for ways to improve cancer care. Through clinical trials, we test promising therapies for all types of sarcomas. If one of these trials is right for you, we give you the chance to take part.

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Symptoms and diagnosis

Finding sarcomas

Symptoms of sarcomas depend on the type of cancer and where they are found in your body.

Bone cancers can cause:

  • A lump under the skin

  • Fatigue or tiredness

  • Pain or swelling over a bony area

Cancers of the female reproductive organs can cause:

  • Bleeding after menopause

  • Pelvic pain or pressure

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding

Soft tissue cancers may cause:

  • A new lump or a lump that gets bigger

  • Abdominal pain that gets worse over time

  • Black, tarry stools

  • Bloody stools or vomit

Making a diagnosis

To confirm you have a sarcoma, our doctors will record your medical history and do a physical exam. They may also order one or more imaging tests. If we suspect a sarcoma, we will remove a tissue sample and perform a biopsy. During a biopsy, our specialists look at your tissue sample under a microscope for signs of cancer.


Wisconsin’s cancer center

Our specialists provide care through the UW Health | Carbone Cancer Center. As the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin, we provide the highest level of cancer care available.

Patient and support services

Additional information

You can learn more about sarcomas through these online resources:

Contact the UW Health | Carbone Cancer Center

At the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin, we treat a variety of cancer types using the latest and most advanced treatments available.

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