Sarcoma Cancer: Facts to Know!

Sarcoma Cancer: Facts to Know!

Cancer News

July is observed as the Sarcoma awareness month. This month is dedicated to creating awareness about this rare cancer type.

What is Sarcoma Cancer?

A sarcoma is a malignant tumour that originates around the bones and in the connective tissue, such as muscle, fat, nerves, and blood vessels. Symptoms of Sarcoma depend on the size of the tumour and its location. Sarcoma is treated by surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.

Sarcoma affects people of all age groups, from children to adults. Soft tissue sarcoma is common in adults. Bone sarcoma is common in children, teens, and people older than 65 years. 

Types of Sarcoma

There are two broad categories for Sarcoma. The first category is soft tissue sarcoma, which means that cancer arises in the soft tissues anywhere in the body such as muscles, fat, nerves, and blood vessels. The second category is bone sarcoma, cancers originating in the bone.

How is Sarcoma different from Bone Cancer?

Sarcoma cancer starts in connective tissues around the bone, such as muscles, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, and fat tissues. They can develop anywhere in the body. However, primary bone cancers start in the bone itself. 

Symptoms of Sarcoma

Symptoms may vary from case to case, depending on the location of the tumour. Some sarcomas may cause pain, and some may be painless. Some common symptoms of Sarcoma may include:

  • A lump on the skin that may or may not hurt.

  • Pain in arms, legs, abdomen, and pelvis and trouble moving the affected part.

  • Unintended weight loss.

  • Extreme back pain.

What are the Risk Factors of Sarcoma?

From the most common types of sarcomas, like soft tissue sarcomas, to the rarest, including Ewing and Kaposi, the exact causes of sarcomas are unknown. Gender does not influence the chances of developing Sarcoma, but osteosarcoma is more common among males.

The following are some of the risk factors that can increase a person’s chances of developing soft tissue sarcoma and osteosarcoma:

  • Exposure to radiation, perhaps during treatment for a different type of cancer

  • Exposure to chemicals

  • A family history of Sarcoma or other genetic disorders, including neurofibromatosis, Gardner syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Werner syndrome, Gorlin syndrome, retinoblastoma or Tuberous sclerosis

  • Lymphedema (Long term swelling in arms or legs)

  • Having a bone disorder

Facts about Sarcoma Cancer

  1. The most common areas where sarcoma tumours may grow are the legs, hands, arms, neck, chest, shoulders, abdomen, and hips.

  2. There are more than 70 sarcoma subtypes. Subtypes of Sarcoma are named based on the surrounding tissue, the affected area of the bone, or the type of cells creating the tumour.

  3. The most common types of Sarcoma are soft tissue sarcomas, including angiosarcomas, fibrosarcomas, leiomyosarcomas, rhabdomyosarcomas, liposarcomas, and synovial sarcomas.

  4. Osteosarcomas (bone sarcomas) are the second most common type, with the least frequent type being sarcomas that develop in internal organs, such as the lungs.

  5. Expertise is critical in treating Sarcoma. With a rare and complex type of cancer such as Sarcoma, seeking the best possible care is important. One must consult a specialist at the earliest in case of experiencing any symptom related to sarcoma.

The bottom line is that there are no prescribed preventive measures for Sarcoma. But the only way to reduce soft tissue sarcomas is to minimize exposure to the risk factors that might cause Sarcoma.