Certainly, every type of cancer is life-threatening and the most dangerous ones are the rarest. Sarcoma is on that list, for sure. It grows in connective tissue, which supports other kinds of matters in our body. Sarcoma is especially dangerous because it can be easily mistaken for many other types of cancer. Let’s take a closer look at the specific symptoms and other features of the disease.
What is sarcoma?
Soft tissue is where sarcoma can usually occur. Including types like fat, muscle, fibrous and synovial tissue, blood and lymph vessels, peripheral nerves. Typically, sarcoma occurs in the arms, the legs, and the abdomen. The most common way of treatment is surgical removal. However, chemo and radiation might be the other options depending on the location and size of the tumor.
Bone sarcomas are the second large group of this type of cancer, and the most common type is osteosarcoma. Most often it occurs in children due to the growth of bones. In the United States, under 3,000 cases of bone sarcoma is diagnosed each year.
What are the risk factors?
Although scientists do not know the cause of the occurrence of sarcoma, statistically, they have identified several factors that can increase the risk of having this type of cancer. They are:
- Heredity. If someone in your family has had sarcoma.
- Paget’s disease. The condition affects bones in a way that they become fragile or even misshapen.
- A genetic disorder like neurofibromatosis, retinoblastoma, Gardner syndrome, or Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
- Exposure to radiation.
The only one type of sarcoma that has a clearly defined cause is Kaposi’s sarcoma. It is caused by the human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8). Most people are infected with at least one type of herpesvirus, and an average person’s immune system can easily keep it under control.
What are the symptoms?
Unfortunately, symptoms of sarcoma usually are not that apparent, which can lead to very late detection. Main indicators are:
- a noticeable and painful lump or swelling;
- pain (tumor can pressure nerves or muscles);
- a limp, if the tumor is in the leg.
It is important to consult with the doctor as soon as you have noticed one of the symptoms. Sarcomas have the survival rate between 56% and 90% depending on the stage of cancer, and if it didn’t metastasize (spread to other parts of the body). Sarcomas can be extremely aggressive, meaning they grow very fast and are likely to spread.
It is recommended to undergo regular medical check-ups. Such actions save a lot of lives. Take care and stay healthy!
Source: WebMD, Medical News Today, Mayo Clinic.