Alveolar soft part sarcoma


Alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS) is a type of tumor that affects the soft connective tissues of the body like nerves, muscles, and fat. It is cancer. The tumor grows slowly in the beginning and usually starts in the arms and legs. However, it can also affect the head and neck.


Alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS) spreads to the rest of the body parts and can come back after many years. This cancer is very rare in children. Since the tumor grows very slowly, thus you may not notice any symptoms till cancer spreads to other parts of the body.



There is no known cause for alveolar soft part sarcoma. But cancer may have a link with the genes. Furthermore, researchers are trying to find out the link between the alveolar soft part sarcoma and other risk factors.

Thus, cancer needs surgical removal as it is a very serious condition. In some cases, radiation therapy becomes necessary. After the removal of the tumor, follow-up care becomes necessary.



The alveolar soft part sarcoma shows several signs and symptoms depending upon the location. You may not notice any kinds of symptoms as long as the tumor grows considerably.

This is because it takes longer for the cancers of soft tissues to show any symptoms. Such issues are quite soft and elastic. However, the most usual symptoms of cancer include;


Presence of lump

Painless swelling


Tumor compresses nerves or muscles which causes soreness

Difficulty using the feet and legs.

Motion in the affected area diminishes



Your doctor may use several ways to diagnose your alveolar soft part sarcoma. But, before going for the main tests, your doctor may examine your body physically. He/she will look for several signs that appear in the alveolar soft part sarcoma. Afterward, he/she may order for various imaging tests, which include;


X-rays: After your doctor checks your thoroughly, he/she may order for an x-ray. This takes an image of the affected area of your body. If anything suspicious is found in the x-ray, then your doctor will order other include


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A technician will do an MRI when you lie still and flat on a plain surface. Then, by means of this surface, you will reach a tube-shaped machine (MRI machine). To create a detailed, 3-D image inside your body, it uses radio waves and a magnetic field.

Computed tomography scan (CAT/CT scan): Similar to the MRI, your doctor may also perform a CT scan. It connects with a computer and takes pictures.


Biopsy. (Removing a sample of tissue for testing). In this procedure, your doctor removes a sample of the tumor and examines it under a microscope. He/she will analyze the changes in the cancer cells. That way, he/she may be able to tell whether you have a tumor or not.

Bone scan: A bone scan helps to detect if cancerous cells are present in bones. Your doctor injects a small amount of radioactive dye into the veins of your body. This is going to aggregate in the areas having tumors.

When you are under a bone scanner, your doctor will be able to see if the radioactive dye has accumulated at a specific place or not.


Blood test: This includes a CBC test which gives your doctor an idea about the number, size, and maturity of blood cells. These cells must be present in a specific number and volume.



Surgery: The motive of surgery is to remove all the tumor cells. But you should note or have an idea about what effects it might have on your daily life. For Alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS), the extent of surgery depends on various factors like the location of the tumor and its size.

Limb-salvage surgery. Your doctor uses this survey to preserve the function of your limb. He/she will try to remove the tumor in a way that doesn’t affect the limbs. Thus, for this, they may remove a wide margin of healthy tissues around the tumor.


Rotationplasty. This is a partial amputation that helps in the preservation of a cancer-free lower leg by attaching it to the thighbone. In this case, your ankle acts as a knee joint.

Amputation surgery. In case the tumor involves the blood vessels and nerves, your doctor may use an amputation surgery. In this procedure, your surgeon will amputate (cut) your affected part.


Radiation therapy:

To kill cancer cells, a doctor uses radiation therapy, which uses high-energy beams, like protons and X-rays. In case a surgery is not successful or possible for a surgeon to remove all, then radiation therapy is useful.

While lying on a table, a machine is going to deliver radiations (beams of energy). Thus, to reduce the risk of damage to surrounding healthy cells, a specialist directs the beams to the area of the alveolar soft part sarcoma.

Your doctor may recommend this after surgery to kill the remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy can slow the growth of cancer for alveolar soft part sarcoma and relieve the pain.

Arterial embolization. As your doctor tries to remove the alveolar soft part sarcoma, there may be a risk of blood loss. This is because the tumor may involve abnormal blood vessels. Thus, careful planning is necessary during surgery.


Thus, before going for surgery, your doctor may order for arterial embolization. In this procedure, your doctor stops the blood flow to the abnormal areas, thereby reducing the blood loss during surgery.

However, before deciding if your child is fit for arterial embolization, your doctor may use a special X-ray called an angiogram. This makes possible the visualization of the blood vessels.


Chemotherapy. Usually, an alveolar soft part sarcoma does not respond to chemotherapy.


Coping and support 


When you get diagnosed with alveolar soft part sarcoma, it could be frightening for you. The condition will be no different for your family.


However, you may learn to cope with the uncertainty and distress related to cancer with time.  Thus, you need to follow these instructions until then;


Call on for medical support:


Various things are going to help you. For instance, the knowledge and understanding of a medical social worker, or any other mental health professional is necessary. They will help you in understanding your cancer.


Furthermore, if your child or other family member suffers from cancer, you need to ask health care professionals for advice. They will provide you with options for medical health support. This will also provide you with emotional and social support.

In addition to this, you can check various online services that will provide you support to combat cancer.


  • Gain more knowledge about alveolar soft part sarcoma to make decisionsabout control and care: 


Ask your doctor about various treatment options related to alveolar soft part sarcoma. Little knowledge is dangerous. Therefore, more confidence in understanding and making decisions about treatment options will be there with you. So you should always learn more about the disease.


Ask the health care team for guidance if your child has cancer. Therefore, get more and more information for appropriately caring for the patient.


Be close to your friends and family:

A close and strong relationship with your family and friends is necessary. It will help you deal with alveolar soft part sarcoma.


You need practical support, moral support from your friends and relatives. Thus, someone should be there for you to look after the family. Emotional support from them is going to matter most. Thus, a healthy and happy person will ultimately efficiently fight the disease.


Prepare for your appointment


You are likely to start making an appointment with your primary care doctor if some signs and symptoms worry you. Ask for a referral to an experienced specialist if your doctor suspects alveolar soft part sarcoma.


A team of specialists typically can treat. For instance;

Tumor surgeons who have specialization in operating soft tissue cancers.

Doctors who have a specialization in treating cancers with systemic medications or chemotherapy.

Pathologists diagnose the specific type of cancer by analyzing a tissue.

Rehabilitation specialists who after surgery help in the recovery of a tumor.


What you should expect from your doctor:


You will face several questions from your doctor. Thus, you should be ready to answer these. So, give more time to your doctor to address them. Your doctor may ask;


What signs and symptoms concern you more?


Have your symptoms been occasional or continuous?


When did you start to notice the symptoms?

The severity of your symptoms?


Is there anything that improves your symptoms?


Is there anything that worsens your symptoms?


Do you have any family or personal history of cancer?