Sarcoma is the common term for a broad group of cancers that begin in the bones and soft tissues. There are more than 70 types of sarcoma, and they can arise from muscles, blood vessels, tendons, fat, nerves, and the lining of the joints.
What is Sarcoma?
Sarcoma is the umbrella term for a broad group of cancers that can originate in different places in your body. Soft tissue sarcomas develop in the soft tissues such as nerves, fat, muscles, blood vessels, deep skin tissues or fibrous tissue. Although they can be found in every part of our body, most start with the arms or legs. Soft tissue sarcomas can also be found in the internal organs, head and neck area, trunk and abdomen (the area at the back of the abdomen) cavity (called retroperitoneumSarcomas usually start in the bones, and these are called osteosarcomas, while some types of sarcomas, such as Rhabdomyosarcomas and the Ewing Family of Tumors, are commonly seen in children. Sarcomas are malignant tumors.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Sarcoma?
There is no exact cause behind sarcoma. GSene mutations can cause the proliferation of abnormal cells to form a tumor. The symptoms of sarcoma are,
- Unintentional, sudden weight loss
- Pain in the bones
- Pain in the abdominal area
- A lump on the skin that may be painful or painless.
- A broken bone that happens with a minor injury
When should you see a doctor?
You should see a doctor if:
- You have developed a painless lump that does not go away even after a few days
- Your bones suddenly start to hurt for no apparent reason
- You develop persistent abdominal pain
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What are the risk factors and complications associated with sarcoma?
Some inherited syndromes you get from your parents can increase your risk for sarcoma. Such diseases include retinoblastoma and neurofibromatosis type 1. If you have cancer and have been exposed to radiation therapy, you may be more likely to develop sarcoma.
A blocked lymphatic system can lead to the development of lymphedema, which stores lymph fluid in your body and causes chronic swelling. This can increase your chance of developing sarcoma. Exposure to certain industrial chemicals such as herbicides and exposure to certain viruses such as Herpesvirus 8 can also increase your risk of developing a type of sarcoma called Kaposi’s sarcoma.
How do we prevent sarcoma?
The best way to prevent sarcoma is to avoid exposure to the factors mentioned above. However, some people still develop sarcoma even without exposure to these risk factors.
How is sarcoma treated?
- The first treatment option for sarcoma is surgery. Doctors can remove the affected areas of the body where the sarcoma is:
- Radiation therapy uses energy rays that can kill the sarcoma cells. Radiation therapy involves using powerful energy beams such as X-rays and protons to kill cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: Certain types of sarcomas respond more quickly to chemotherapy than others.
- Targeted therapy: This is a drug treatment that uses drugs that target specific weaknesses in cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy. This is also a drug treatment that uses your immune system to fight cancer.
Many people with soft tissue sarcoma are cured surgically if the tumor is low grade and may not spread to other parts of the body.
More aggressive sarcomas are more difficult to treat successfully. The survival rate for osteosarcoma is between 60 and 75 percent if the cancer has not spread beyond the region where it started.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1: Can targeted therapy work to cure sarcoma?
Answers: Targeted therapy targets the sarcoma cells and attacks their weak spots. Your doctor may ask for some samples of your sarcoma cells initially to see if they respond to the targeted therapy or not.
2: How Do Doctors Diagnose Sarcoma?
Answers: Doctors perform physical exams, imaging tests, and biopsies to diagnose sarcoma.