Sarcoma Awareness Month 2022 – MediGence

Sarcoma Awareness Month 2022 – MediGence

About Sarcoma

The entire month of July is observed as “Sarcoma Awareness Month”. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with sarcoma, it is best to know some of the intricacies of this rare form of cancer. Since sarcoma is relatively uncommon, it is often called the “forgotten cancer”. This warrants the need for “Sarcoma Awareness Month” which is celebrated every year in July to raise awareness about sarcoma and its treatment.

Sarcoma is a type of cancer that originates in connective tissues of the body. These include your bones, cartilage, muscles, fatty tissue, fibrous tissue, and blood vessels. Since these tissues are present in different places in the body, sarcoma can occur anywhere. But, it is most commonly found in hands, legs, arms, neck, head, hips, chest, abdomen, and shoulders. Around 60% of sarcomas begin in the leg or arm, 30 % are found in the abdomen whereas 10% begin in the neck or head.

Depending on the cancer’s origin, sarcomas can be of different types. For example, liposarcoma occurs in fat, rhabdomyosarcoma occurs in muscles, and osteosarcoma occurs in bones. Each sarcoma subtype has characteristics that distinguish it from others. Also, some sarcomas can grow faster than others making them more severe and difficult to contain. The type and severity of cancer will help the sarcoma specialist to choose the best possible sarcoma cancer treatment for you. Owing to the beginning of sarcoma awareness month, you may come across a lot of information regarding sarcoma. So, it is best to consult a Sarcoma specialist before choosing the ideal sarcoma cancer treatment.

Types of Sarcoma

Though there are around 70 subtypes of sarcomas, they can be classified into two major types: soft tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma.

  • Soft tissue sarcomas: This sarcoma type originates from the soft tissues of the body such as fat, blood vessels, muscle, nerves, and tendons. They are commonly found in the abdomen, legs, and arms. There are an estimated 50 different types of soft tissue sarcomas. Identifying the type of soft tissue sarcoma can help your sarcoma specialist prescribe appropriate soft tissue sarcoma treatment for you.
  • Bone sarcomas: This type of sarcoma starts in the bone. Most bone sarcomas are detected in children. Almost one-third of total bone sarcoma cases are found in patients below 35 years of age. Bone sarcomas can be of different types such as chondrosarcoma, chordoma, osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, etc. Bone sarcomas can affect the functioning of the bones, weaken them, and even cause them to fracture.

History of Sarcoma Awareness Month?

The beginning of “Sarcoma Awareness Month” can be traced back to November 2007. During this time, a group of advocates in Seattle came together to unite all the sarcoma non-profits. Collectively, they decided that a separate month needs to be dedicated to bringing awareness about sarcoma. This initiative was supported by a group of doctors at sarctrials.org. These doctors were determined to wipe out sarcoma. Thus, a petition to gather 100,000 signatures for officially declaring July as Sarcoma awareness month was sent to the White House. Eventually, “Sarcoma Awareness Month” was created.

Purpose of “Sarcoma Awareness Month”?

Sarcoma awareness month is important because it brings attention to an often neglected but lethal cancer. Most people are unaware of this particular form of cancer. This limits people’s interest in researching it. By celebrating “sarcoma awareness month”, we can encourage people to explore this under-researched cancer. This can help advance medicine and save the lives of many children. Such events also provide the much-needed support that cancer fighters need to handle the difficulties and uncertainties of sarcoma.

five facts about Sarcoma

Symptoms of Sarcoma?

In the early stage, some sarcomas may form a small, painless lump. These lumps can grow in any region of your body. As this small lump grows, it will begin to press on your muscles, nerves, or organs. When this happens, you may start to notice sarcoma symptoms such as pain, breathing problems, and feeling full.

Some of the common symptoms associated with sarcoma are:

  • Painless growth or mass in the leg, buttock, and arm
  • Stiffness, soreness, and pain in the region where the tumor mass is pushing on muscles or nerves such as your abdomen, arms, or legs.
  • Limping and other problems with your feet and legs.
  • In the case of bone sarcomas, you may experience limited motion in the joints for no apparent reason.

If you are worried about any of the changes that you may be experiencing, please talk to your doctor. In case you are diagnosed with sarcoma, consult a sarcoma specialist who can provide you with the best possible sarcoma cancer treatment.

Possible Causes of Sarcoma?

It is not yet clear what exactly causes sarcoma. Most cancers occur because of errors or changes in the DNA of cells. Such cells begin to divide abnormally and grow out of control, eventually forming tumors. As the tumor grows in size, it spreads to nearby tissues and other locations in the body where it forms new tumors. This process is called metastasis. Though the process of how cancer spreads is known, the reason why healthy cells become sarcoma is still unclear.

Even so, scientists have found certain risk factors that can increase the possibility of a person developing sarcoma. Some of these factors are:

  • Genetic disorders: Individuals who are already diagnosed with certain inherited diseases have an increased risk of sarcoma. Some of these disorders include retinoblastoma, Werner syndrome, neurofibromatosis type-1, nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis.
  • Chemical exposure: Research suggests that exposure to certain chemicals such as vinyl chloride( found in plastics), thorium dioxide, chlorophenols(wood preservatives), phenoxyacetic acid(herbicides), and arsenic can increase the risk of sarcoma.
  • Radiation for other cancers: If a patient has previously received radiation therapy for an unrelated cancer, then there is a high chance of developing sarcoma in the area where radiation was given.
  • Lymphedema: This is the swelling of the leg, arm, and other body parts that occurs as a side-effect in people who have undergone radiation therapy or surgery. Lymphedema can lead to an increased risk of developing angiosarcoma.
  • Viral exposure: Infection with viruses like herpesvirus 8 and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can weaken the immune system and increase the chances of sarcomas like Kaposi’s sarcoma. People with autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis and cancers like chronic lymphocytic leukemia also have a high probability of developing sarcoma.

One of the most important aims of “sarcoma awareness month” is to bring information about the risk factors of sarcoma to the forefront. This helps in the early diagnosis and treatment of sarcoma.

Diagnosis

According to the National Cancer Institute, the occurrence of sarcomas is underestimated because sometimes they can be difficult to distinguish from other cancers, especially when found within organs. Most of the lumps we get are harmless. But, people should get them checked out by a doctor. If your doctor suspects you of having sarcoma, you will need to get the following tests done:

  • X-ray: An X-ray test uses radiation in small amounts to obtain images of the structures inside your body.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: In a CT scan, a computer combines the X-ray pictures obtained from different angles to generate a three-dimensional and detailed image of the insides of your body. This helps the doctor to spot any tumors or abnormalities.
  • PET scan: In a PET scan, a glucose tracer will be injected into your body. This radioactive tracer detects cells that take up a high amount of glucose, such as cancer cells. The scanner detects this tracer to produce pictures of the regions of the body where glucose uptake is unusually high. Thus, detecting sarcoma.
  • MRI Scan: an MRI employs magnetic fields to obtain detailed pictures of your body. It can also give information about the tumor’s size. Your doctor may use an MRI to determine if the sarcoma can be treated with surgery.
  • Biopsy: This is the most reliable method for diagnosing sarcoma. A tissue section is taken from your tumor and sent to a pathologist who observes it under a microscope. After evaluating the tissue, the pathologist confirms if it is a sarcoma.
    If you have been diagnosed with sarcoma, it is best to get a second opinion from a sarcoma specialist. A doctor specializing in sarcoma treatment can provide the optimum sarcoma cancer treatment options for you.

Treatments Options for Sarcoma?

Choosing the best sarcoma treatment is influenced by several factors like the type of sarcoma, its aggressiveness, location, and if it has spread to other parts of the body. Most sarcomas are treated by surgery. But, the best sarcoma treatment plan will be decided by you and your sarcoma specialist. Some of the treatment options for sarcoma are:

  • Surgery: Surgery aims to remove the entire tumor and the healthy tissue (less than an inch ) surrounding it. This is done to ensure that no tumor cells are left.
    In cases of high-grade sarcomas larger than 5cm, radiation therapy is given along with surgery. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy is often given before the surgery to shrink the tumor. This helps in effectively removing the entire tumor. You can consult orthopedic surgeons and surgical oncologists as they specialize in performing surgeries for sarcoma treatment.
  • Radiation therapy: In radiation therapy, high-energy x-rays are employed for killing cancer cells. Using advanced techniques, the damage to the healthy cells is minimized. Radiation therapy can be performed before the surgery to shrink the tumor for facilitating its removal. It can also be given after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may have been left behind. Because sarcoma is rare, you should talk to a radiation oncologist who has expertise in providing radiation therapy for sarcoma.
  • Chemotherapy: This method relies on medicines for treating sarcoma. The medicines kill the cancer cells or stop them from growing and dividing. These are given orally or intravenously. A chemotherapy regime involves a set of cycles that are given over time. Chemotherapy for sarcoma cancer treatment involves a single drug or a combination of different drugs. Chemotherapy can also be given before surgery to shrink the tumor. There are sometimes side effects of chemotherapy, but these usually go away after you have finished the treatment.
  • Targeted therapy: This method attacks the cancer cell’s weaknesses. It only targets cancer-specific proteins or genes that help the sarcoma cells grow and survive. Thus, minimizing the damage to healthy cells. But, this therapy is useful only for certain types of sarcoma. It also only works against the weaknesses that it has been designed to target.
  • Thermal ablation: In this procedure, an interventional radiologist freezes or heats the tumor to destroy it. This process is usually performed with the help of guided imaging. For example, a CT scan can guide the radiologist in placing the probe at the correct location for freezing the tissue.

Prevention for Sarcoma

Since there is no known cause of sarcoma yet, the only way to prevent it is to avoid exposing yourself to some of the risk factors of sarcoma such as herbicides, radiation, etc. But this is not possible for everyone as people with other cancers will need to undergo radiation therapy. Also, most people with soft tissue sarcoma have not been necessarily exposed to the risk factors. Thus, doctors have very little advice to give when it comes to preventing sarcoma.

Though no test can detect sarcoma cells when they first start to divide, early diagnosis can improve your chances of survival. Thus, this sarcoma awareness month, we urge you to contact your doctor immediately if you begin to notice any lumps on your body. These may be harmless but it is better to get them checked out if they become painful or grow in size.

How can MediGence Help you with Sarcoma Cancer Treatment?

MediGence can help you discover the right cancer specialist for your sarcoma cancer treatment. It is a global healthcare platform that enables you to choose the right specialist from its network of over 8000 doctors present in more than 25 countries around the world. During the treatment process, you will be provided with the necessary information to make the best healthcare decision. The entire process will be hassle-free and transparent. MediGence helps you:

  • Connect with top specialists around the world through telemedicine
  • Get a second opinion from the oncology board to reconfirm your diagnosis
  • Arrange your medical travel for overseas treatment

Top Cancer Hospitals for Sarcoma

  • National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH)

Inaugurated only in the year 2014 Wockhardt Hospital in Mira Road has been active in providing comprehensive healthcare and has become a name well revered by people for its high quality services given in a healthy and restorative environment.  High end critical care services are available in Wockhardt Umrao which includes consultancy for treatment packages and diagnostics service and therapies. It has a vast building with 14 stories dedicated to various departments making it a multi spe... Read More

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Apollo Hospital

Chennai,India

  • Joint Commission International, or JCI
  • National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH)

In the year 1983 Apollo Hospitals Chennai- the flagship hospital was established. They were the first to nurture the idea in the nation to not only provide holistic healthcare but uplift it to be the face of international standards catering to individual reach and capacities. They have worked tirelessly to catapult education, research and healthcare to reach its best times in the nation.

Strategically located, hotels near Apollo hospital Chennai is very easy to locate. The hospital h... Read More

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  • Joint Commission International, or JCI
  • National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH)

Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals in Kolkata is the joint venture between Apollo Group of Hospitals chain of India and Parkway Health from Singapore. It is the only hospital to be accredited with the prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI), an international benchmark for quality treatments in the Eastern zone of the Indian subcontinent after a thorough evaluation procedure of testing safety and quality consistency parameters.

In six different categories it has received the much co... Read More

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Top Cancer Specialists for Sarcoma

Amit Bhargava

Cancer Specialist - Medical Oncologist

Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital , New Delhi,India

16 Years of experience

Overview of Doctor Profile

A surgeon par excellence, Dr. Amit Bhargava qualifies as among the most sought after Oncologist in the New Delhi, India. A doctor with outstanding credentials, the doctor is known to guarantee efficiency and safety when performing different kinds of procedures as he keeps abreast of latest developments in his specialty. The specialist holds a very degree of experience with over 16 years of experience. Some o... View bio

Vivek Mangla

Cancer Specialist - Surgical Oncologist

Max Super Specialty Hospital, Vaishali , Ghaziabad,India

17 Years of experience

Doctor Profile Overview

A well respected figure and one of the most well respected Oncologist in Ghaziabad, India, Dr. Vivek Mangla has had several decades of domain specific experience under his belt. Dr. Vivek Mangla has over 17 years of experience in his field. The clinician treats and manages a wide range of conditions such as Pancreatic Cancer, Pancreatic or Duodenal Trauma, Stomach Cancer, Pancreatic Head Cancer

Qualifica... View bio

Parveen Jain

Cancer Specialist - Medical Oncologist

Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital , Delhi,India

10 Years of experience

Qualification and Experience of Dr. Parveen Jain

Dr. Parveen Jain is an experienced oncologist who has been working relentlessly for the past 10 years as a specialist in medical oncology. At present, he serves as the Senior Consultant and Head of the Department of Oncology at the Aakash Healthcare Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, India. Reputed for his expertise in the treatment of non-hematological and hematological malignancie... View bio

 

FAQs About Sarcoma

The “yellow color ribbon” represents sarcoma. The ribbon is commonly used in July which is sarcoma awareness month to raise awareness about the condition.

The survival rate of sarcoma cancer depends on the stage and type of sarcoma. In general, the overall 5-year rate of survival for sarcoma is estimated to be 65%.

No direct link between smoking and sarcoma has been found yet.

The most common types of sarcomas are soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas. There are also 70 subtypes of sarcoma found within these major categories.

The exact cause of sarcoma is unknown, But, researchers believe that just like other cancers, sarcomas can also develop because of changes in the DNA of our cells.

Once it begins to metastasize, sarcoma can spread to different locations in the body. The most common being lungs.

Last modified on at Jul 15, 2022

Reviewed By :- Megha Saxena

nishant-sharma

An avid traveller, with a healthcare background. Been writing since my young college days, in and around healthcare and medical topics. I love to read, learn more, and impart the same further into more readers. Experienced writing mind with hands on experience in writing blogs and quora answers around medical topics.

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