If you don’t know what a sarcoma is, you’re not alone. It’s not a very common form of cancer, and so doesn’t get as much publicity as breast, colon or prostate cancer. Sarcomas are malignant tumors that develop in the connective tissues of the body. This could be in the blood vessels, muscles, nerves, cartilage or bones. Sarcoma diagnoses are divided into either soft tissue or bone sarcomas, depending on where they occur within the body.
Since soft tissues such as fat, tendons & cartilage are very elastic, the tumors can sometimes grow to be quite large before they are detected. The first commonly noticed symptom is finding a lump, though it will not necessarily be accompanied with any pain. As the tumor grows it will begin to press on the nearby nerves and an aching soreness can occur.
Bone tumors can be either benign or malignant and are rarely life threatening as they do not spread throughout the body. There are many different kinds of bone sarcomas, although not all bone cancers are sarcomas. If the cancer originated elsewhere in the body and spread to the bone, this bone cancer would be considered secondary.
The cause of sarcomas has yet to be determined. As with any cancer however, maintaining a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, living in an unpolluted environment and participating in an active lifestyle will certainly reduce risk.
- Sarcomas account for about 11% of cancers in children and 14% in teenagers.
- 55% of sarcomas affect the limbs, more often the legs.
- There are 70 different sub-types of sarcoma beyond the basic bone v.s. soft tissue division.
- The highest incidence of bone sarcoma is among the young & the very old.
- Treatment for a sarcoma is common with that of other cancers and can include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation depending on several different factors relating to the individual case.
“Pharmaceutical companies, not even Congress, can do nearly as much for stimulating new cures as can the grass roots efforts of the public.” -Dr. Charles Keller