Sarcoma is a collective term for the family comprising of different cancerous tumors which originate in the connective tissues, bones, cartilage, and muscles. More than 70 types of sarcoma are discovered till date
What causes Sarcoma?
Just as is the case with almost all the type of cancer that exists, what exactly causes sarcoma is yet to be known however, the general cause of cancer is the same for all and that is a mutation in the genes. DNA is responsible for the normal growth and division of cells as it houses the necessary set of instructions that carries out the process of the cell cycle. The change in DNA causes the cells to multiply and grow abnormally without any restriction causing tumors. These tumors can later make their way to other parts of the body and cause other types of cancers.
What are the symptoms of Sarcoma?
Symptoms of sarcoma can vary depending upon its type (More than 70 types of sarcoma exist), however, the general symptoms common to all types are as follows
– Appearance of lumps
– Pain in the bones
– Brittle bones
– Pain in the abdomen
– Unforeseen weight loss
What are the risk factors of Sarcoma?
The factors which increase the risk of one having sarcoma are as follows
– Exposure to chemicals: Chemicals found in industrial effluents and herbicides increases the risk of sarcoma.
– Viruses: People with weak immune systems are at an increased risk of sarcoma if infected with herpesvirus 8.
– Lymphedema: Increase in the risk of sarcoma due to backing up of lymph in the body.
– Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy used in cancer treatment puts one at a higher risk of developing sarcoma in the later stages of life.
– Genetics: Some genetically passed syndromes have the capacity to increase the risk of sarcoma.
Methods of diagnosis
The procedures used in the diagnosis of sarcoma are as follows:
– Biopsy: Lab testing of a sample of the tissue which is suspected to be cancerous is known as a biopsy.
– Imaging: Tests like X-Ray scans, CT scans, and PET scans are often used as per the demand of the situation.
– Physical Examination: A physical examination is usually performed to better understand the condition of the patient.
What are the methods of treatment?
Treatment of sarcoma is almost similar to that of other cancers. The treatment method is decided after a thorough analysis of the condition. The general treatment methods constitute:
– Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy utilizes high-frequency beams that are capable of destroying cancer cells. The radiation may be targeted to one part or throughout the body, as required.
– Chemotherapy: This treatment method implies the use of chemicals to attack cancerous cells.
– Surgery: The aim of this treatment method is to surgically remove as much cancer as possible.
– Immunotherapy: This treatment method aims to train the body’s natural protection mechanism to better fight the cancer cells which normally are not as efficient in fighting cancer.
– Ablation Therapy: The main aim of this therapy is to destroy the cancerous cells using heat or extreme cold or ultrasound waves.
Most of the people that are diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma are completely cured by surgery provided the tumor is in its early stage. Hence it is important for healthy individuals to go for annual screening to reduce the risk of ever getting into the clutches of this cancer.