SARCOMA FACTS

drkmh SARCOMA FACTS

 

There are over 50 types of Sarcomas and the possibility of at least 100 subsets. However, Sarcomas can be broadly categorised into: soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas

 

General Facts

 

  • Sarcoma is called a rare cancer, but at least 16,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year. And given its nature, the cancer goes unnoticed until it reaches an advanced stage, making treatment complicated.
  • Sarcomas grow in connective tissue anywhere in the body but are most common in the bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, nerves, fat, and blood vessels of the arms and legs

Types of Sarcomas

 

  • There are over 50 types of Sarcomas and the possibility of at least 100 subsets. However, Sarcomas can be broadly categorised into: soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas
  • Bone Sarcoma or Osteosarcoma is more common in children and young adults, than adults or elderly folk

Sarcoma Symptoms

 

  • Bone pain in young children is always put down to growth pains. However, if these pains do not go away, it’s best to get it checked with a doctor.
  • Soft tissue sarcoma almost always starts with a painless lump. As the lump grows it may press against nerves causing pain and discomfort.
  • In the case of bone sarcoma, inexplicable pain precedes the appearance of a bump/ swelling. This pain maxes out at night.

Diagnosing Sarcoma

 

  • A biopsy and a CT/ MRI scan will help confirm diagnosis of a soft tissue sarcoma.

Sarcoma Risks

 

  • Having a family history of sarcoma, increases one’s risk for the condition
  • Other medical conditions also can cause sarcoma: such as a bone disorder called Paget’s disease or a lymphatic system malfunction such Lymphedema that causes lymph fluid to get backed up and cause swelling
  • Inherited syndromes such as familial retinoblastoma and neurofibromatosis type 1 increase the risk for sarcoma
  • Exposure to certain industrial chemicals and certain viruses can also cause sarcoma

Sarcoma Treatment

 

  • In most cases the first line of treatment is surgery if the cancer has not spread beyond the primary cancer site. Surgery is performed to remove the tumour followed by radiation therapy to make sure there are no cancer cells left behind.
  • In case the tumor is quite larger, Radiation is given before surgery to shrink the tumor
  • If the cancer has spread beyond the primary location Chemotherapy is also part of the treatment plan
  • Even after successful treatment of sarcoma, it is important to see the doctor at regular intervals. These follow-ups are required to check for or spot a recurrence of the cancer and to treat it at the earliest should it recur.

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