What Is the Role of Radiation Therapy in Treating Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

What Is the Role of Radiation Therapy in Treating Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

For soft tissue sarcoma, a physician could advise radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells before, during, or instead of surgery.

An essential component of the treatment for soft tissue sarcoma is radiation therapy. It destroys cancer cells with high-energy radiation.

Physicians may employ this kind of care:
  • before surgery to reduce the tumour and facilitate its removal
  • after surgery to eradicate any remaining malignant cells
  • when surgical removal isn't the best course of action
Radiation therapy is occasionally used by medical experts to treat soft tissue sarcoma symptoms that have spread or returned.

This article delves more into the use of radiation therapy by medical professionals for soft tissue sarcoma, including its effectiveness and the nature of the technique.

What’s the goal of radiation therapy for soft tissue sarcoma?

Radiation therapy aims to eradicate cancer cells. The specific objectives of the treatment your doctor prescribes for soft tissue sarcoma will depend on when you receive it.

Radiation therapy may be administered to you at various times, such as:
  • Before surgery: Neoadjuvant treatment refers to radiation therapy used before tumour excision surgery. It may aid in tumour shrinkage, making removal simpler.
  • After surgery: Adjuvant treatment refers to radiation therapy used after surgery. Assists in eliminating any residual cancer cells and is frequently included in the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma.
  • In place of surgery: Not everyone can have surgery to remove a tumour safely. Surgery may not always be necessary because radiation therapy can eradicate cancer cells and prevent the tumour from growing.
  • To control symptoms: Sometimes radiation therapy can reduce symptoms when cancer spreads or returns after initial treatment. This is usually included in a plan for palliative care.
Healthcare providers occasionally use radiation therapy in addition to chemotherapy as a treatment for soft tissue sarcoma. We refer to this as chemoradiation. It may enable you to receive two potent therapies concurrently, but there may be additional adverse effects.

How effective is radiation therapy for soft tissue sarcoma?

The following variables determine how successful radiation therapy is in treating soft tissue sarcoma:
  • the timing of the treatment
  • your overall health
  • where and in what stage the soft tissue sarcoma is
  • your response to treatment
For example, better results and greater survival rates are linked to radiation therapy following surgery to help eradicate any leftover cancer cells.

Radiation therapy is meant to treat symptoms rather than cure soft tissue sarcoma when it has spread or resurfaced, according to medical professionals.

How many sessions of radiation therapy are typically needed for soft tissue sarcoma?

For soft tissue sarcoma, the precise number of radiation therapy sessions required will depend on:
  • when undergoing radiation therapy (either in advance to, following, or in place of surgery)
  • The kind of radiation treatment you receive
  • your doctor's recommendations, which consider your general health as well as the kind and stage of your cancer
After surgery, radiation treatment typically consists of a few weeks of treatment. Radiation therapy is typically administered daily for a duration of one to six weeks. The length of treatment at various periods may differ.

How does radiation therapy work for a soft tissue sarcoma patient?

Radiation treatments usually take place in 10-to 30-minute outpatient sessions.

You are going to lie on a table for your therapy. Radiation energy delivery apparatuses travel around the body to provide radiation from many perspectives. It will focus on the region where your tumour is located. The machine may make a buzzing noise while it operates.

Although the treatment area will be your own, you will have access to an intercom system so that you may communicate with the medical team if necessary. If necessary, they can end the treatment immediately. Radiation, however, is not harmful.

What adverse effects might radiation therapy for soft tissue sarcoma cause?

Radiation therapy is one of the medical therapies that carries some risk of side effects.

The location of your tumour and the time of your radiation therapy can affect the possible adverse effects. For instance, radiation to the stomach is more likely to result in digestive issues, but radiation to the neck or chest may induce swallowing issues.

Radiation therapy for soft tissue sarcoma may have the following adverse effects:
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficult or painful swallowing
  • discomfort or edoema in your extremities
  • skin irritation
  • headaches
  • brain fog
  • bone weakness
  • hair loss
Most patients' symptoms usually get better or go away when their radiation therapy sessions are over. But occasionally, symptoms like lung damage or weak bones that make breathing difficult can be irreversible.

It is best to discuss the side effects that are most likely to affect you with your doctor.


An essential component of the treatment for soft tissue sarcoma is radiation therapy. Radiation therapy may be used in lieu of, in addition to, or before surgery. Radiation therapy is occasionally recommended by medical professionals to treat soft tissue sarcoma symptoms that have spread or resurfaced.

Although lung and bone damage are possible adverse effects of radiation therapy, the majority of these are minor and go away when your sessions are over.

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