Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Tests and procedures used to diagnose soft tissue sarcoma include:

  • Imaging tests. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), may be used to evaluate the area of concern.
  • Removing a sample of tissue for testing. Your doctor may perform a biopsy procedure to remove a sample of the suspected sarcoma for testing in a lab. To remove the sample, your doctor may use a long, thin needle. Sometimes a biopsy sample is removed during surgery.

    If a soft tissue sarcoma is suspected, it's often best to seek care at a medical center that sees many people with this type of cancer. Experienced doctors will select the best biopsy technique to ensure proper surgical treatment and planning.

    In the lab, a doctor trained in analyzing body tissues (pathologist) examines the tissue sample for signs of cancer. The pathologist also analyzes the sample to understand the type of cancer and to determine whether the cancer is aggressive.

July 01, 2015