Why We Need Greater awareness on Sarcoma

‘If you wish, you can beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.’

Facing a cancer diagnosis is hard enough without the fact that none of your family members or friends have ever heard about it. The purpose of sarcoma awareness month is to encourage research, drug development, awareness, understanding, support, and education to improve the lives of those impacted by sarcoma.

To create awareness, we should know all about sarcoma. Here we have entailed detail information about it-

What is Sarcoma?

The term ‘sarcoma’ comes from the Greek word ‘sarkoma’ which means ‘fleshy growth.’

A sarcoma is a rare kind of cancer. Sarcomas are different from the much more common carcinomas because they develop in different kind of connective tissues, including bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, fibrous tissues, veins, arteries, nerves, skin, and fatty tissues.

Types of Sarcoma-

There are more than 60 types of sarcoma; however, they can be grouped into two main kinds:

  • Soft tissue sarcoma:

    Develop in soft tissues, such as muscles, fat, nerves, blood vessels, fibrous tissues or deep skin tissues.

  • Bone sarcoma:

    Develop in bones.

In 2017, about 12,000 cases of soft tissue sarcoma and 1,000 cases of bone sarcomas will be diagnosed.

Other common sarcoma subtypes include:

  • Angiosarcoma (lymphatic vessels)
  • Chondrosarcoma (cartilage cells)
  • Fibro sarcoma (fibrous tissue)
  • Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (in nerves and spinal cord)
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma (in skeletal muscle)

What are the symptoms of Sarcoma?

The symptoms of Sarcoma may vary from person to person and it also depends on the type as well as the location of the tumor-

  • Soft tissue sarcoma symptoms:

In this case, you can see or feel a firm mass that may develop into your body. Some of these masses are painless and some of them can cause pain. A tumor in your abdomen may cause abdominal pain, blood in your stools or vomiting.

  • Bone cancer symptoms:

Bone Cancer may cause pain in a bone which may come and go, but as the tumor grows, the pain eventually becomes constant. Bone cancer can weaken your bones’ strength, which can ultimately lead to fractures of your bone.

Steps for earlier detection of Sarcoma:

After a proper check-up, if your doctor thinks you may have a sarcoma, you’ll probably need a full exam and tests, including:

  • Biopsy- a process of sampling of cells from the tumor.
  • Some tests like CT scan, Ultrasonography, or an MRI for checking condition inside your body.
  • The scan of bone, if you might have osteosarcoma.

How effective is a treatment of Sarcoma?

The process of sarcoma treatment or cancer treatment depends on what type of cancer you have, where it is located in your body, and whether or not it has spread to other parts of your body, called metastasis. Following are ways of treatment-

  • Surgery takes the tumor out of your body. In most cases of bone sarcoma, the doctor can just remove the cancer cells, not your body parts like hand or leg.

 

  • Radiation can shrink the tumor before surgery or kill cancer cells that are left after surgery. If surgery is not working, then radiation could be the main treatment.

 

  • Chemotherapy drugs can also be used with or instead of surgery. It is the first treatment when cancer has been already spread.

 

  • Another therapy is targeted therapies which use drugs or man-made versions of antibodies from the immune system of healthy people, to block the growth of cancer cells.

Lastly, the success rate of a Sarcoma Treatment:

Now-a-days, many people diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma which can be cured by surgery. And it means that it is not likely to spread to other parts of the body. However, the survival rate for bone sarcoma is between 50%-80%, if the cancer cells have not spread to different parts of the body. It will be better if all of the cancer cells can be removed by surgery.

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‘In recent years, as the doctors have gained a proper understanding of sarcoma growth patterns and advance technology, the risks of sarcoma spreading decreases day by day. And as a result, survival following treatment for sarcoma has improved tremendously.’

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