NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Soft Tissue Sarcoma, Version 1.2014
Getting an imaging scan is often easy. Before the
scan, you may need to stop taking some medicines,
stop eating and drinking for a few hours, and remove
metal objects from your body. During the scan, you
will need to lie face up on a table that moves through
As the machine takes pictures, you may hear
buzzing, clicking, or whirring sounds. You will be
alone, but a technician will operate the machine in a
nearby room. He or she will be able to see, hear, and
speak with you at all times. You will likely be able to
resume your activities right away unless you took a
A biopsy is the removal of tissue or fluid samples to
test for disease. After the biopsy, a pathologist will
examine the samples with a microscope to assess if
there’s cancer. A biopsy is recommended unless you
will have surgery that fully removes the tumor.
There are multiple ways that a biopsy can be done.
A needle can be used to remove samples. The two
types of needle biopsies are a core-needle biopsy
and fine-needle aspiration. The core-needle biopsy
obtains a larger sample for testing. A fine-needle
aspiration removes a smaller piece of tissue and
doesn’t require any cutting into the skin (incision).
Besides needle biopsies, an incisional biopsy can
be used. An incisional biopsy requires anesthesia to
numb the area and cutting into the skin. It is a minor
surgery that removes some but not the entire tumor.
If after the first biopsy it is unclear if the tumor is
cancer, a second biopsy should be done. The second
biopsy should be done using imaging to guide the
needle into the tumor. If you have cancer and not a
desmoid tumor, more testing should be done to learn
more about the cancer. Your doctors will want to know
the cancer grade. Testing for abnormal genes within
the cancer cells may also be done. It is important
that the testing be done by a pathologist who has
experience with sarcoma.