Synovial sarcoma is a type of soft tissue sarcoma.
While the most commonly affected area is around the legs (particularly the knees and ankles), synovial sarcoma can also appear in the head and neck, chest, tummy, and other areas.
Please note that this information is specific to synovial sarcoma that occurs in teenagers and young adults.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of synovial sarcoma can vary depending on the size and location of your tumour.
Symptoms may include:
- a lump which is growing or changing
- a lump which is larger than 2cm
- unlike some of the other subtypes of sarcoma, the lump often isn’t painful
If your GP suspects that you may have synovial sarcoma, they should refer you to a specialist centre or hospital for further tests.
You will have a physical examination at the specialist centre or hospital. They may be given a blood test to check their general health.
You may also have a number of tests, including a chest X-ray, a biopsy, an MRI or a CT scan. You can read more about scans and tests here.
Treatment for synovial sarcoma will vary depending on the size and location of your tumour. Synovial sarcoma is often treated through a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
During surgery, the surgeon will remove your tumour and will aim to take out an area of normal tissue around it too. This is known as taking a margin.
The tissue will then be examined to make sure there are no cancerous cells and that the margins are clear. This is done because clear margins reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. It is sometimes used:
- before surgery to reduce the size of the tumour so it can be operated on and removed (neo-adjuvant chemotherapy)
- after surgery to kill off any local cancer cells which remain in the area of the tumour (adjuvant chemotherapy)
Synovial sarcoma tends to respond well to chemotherapy.
Radiotherapy uses high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. It can be used before, after, or alongside other treatment methods.
After treatment, you will be monitored closely and will have regular follow-up appointments to check for symptoms and side-effects.
If you have any specific questions or concerns about your treatment and follow up, you should contact your doctor.