Pathology dictionary

What is a sarcoma?

A sarcoma is a type of cancer made of cells that normally form the supporting network that holds our body together. These tissues include bones, muscle, fat, or blood vessels. Because these types of tissues are found throughout our body, a sarcoma can start almost anywhere.

Sarcomas are rare compared to other types of cancers and they are often made up of cells that pathologists describe as spindle cells because they are long and thin.

There are many different types of sarcomas and the behavior of the tumour depends on the type of sarcoma and the grade. Sarcomas are named by adding the word ‘sarcoma’ to the end of the diagnosis. For example a tumour that contains fat cells is called a ‘liposarcoma’ while a tumour that contains muscle cells is called a ‘rhabdomyosarcoma’.

Common types of sarcomas include:

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