Retroperitoneal sarcoma


Cancer of the space behind your abdomen's lining

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Retroperitoneal sarcomas occur behind the peritoneum. The peritoneum is the lining of the abdominal space that covers organs such as the major blood vessels, kidneys, pancreas and bladder. The tumours are very rare, but because of their location they are difficult to treat.

Need to know

Symptoms of retroperitoneal sarcoma can vary depending on the size and location of your tumour. They may include: - a noticeable lump in the abdomen - increase in size around your middle - dull pain above your tummy or in your back - intense abdominal pain with bleeding. Other rare symptoms include feeling full after eating a small amount of food, weight loss, hernia or anaemia.
If your consultant feels you may have soft tissue cancer, they'll refer you for a number of tests. A diagnosis of a retroperitoneal sarcoma will usually be made by a HCA UK specialist and will be based on your symptoms, a physical examination, and the results of one or all of the following: - an ultrasound scan is usually the first test performed and is fairly simple and quick; further scans such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be performed later - a biopsy where a sample of suspected cancerous tissue is removed using a needle or during an operation so it can be tested and analysed in a laboratory.
If you are diagnosed with a retroperitoneal sarcoma you'll be cared for by our team of specially trained medical staff at one of our specialist centres. They'll help decide on the most appropriate treatment. Your recommended treatment will depend on things such as what stage your cancer has reached, how far it has spread, your age and your general health. The main treatments are: - surgery to remove any tumour - radiotherapy, where high-energy radiation is used to kill cancer cells - chemotherapy and other medications to kill cancer cells.

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.