Sarcoma is a type of cancer that specifically targets the connective tissues and originates from the transformed cells of mesenchymal origin. It can affect the bones, cartilage, fats and vascular or hematopoietic tissues, present in various different locations of your body. Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer, yet very aggressive in nature. It is categorised into a number of different types. Bone sarcoma commonly referred to as osteosarcoma is a type of malignancy that develops in the bones. There are others that may develop in different places and then spread to the bones wire metastasis. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop in muscles, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. As per the experts from the best oncology hospital in Pune, sarcoma is much more common in small children as compared to adults and accounts for almost 15% of all childhood cancer. Studies and research have also shown that nearly 60% of sarcomas develop in the limbs, 30% in the abdomen and 10% in the head or neck.
Symptoms that you need to look out for:
Early recognition of symptoms is the key to effective management. However, it is pertinent to note that soft sarcomas are not easy to detect as these can develop anywhere throughout your body and do not induce any major symptom initially. In some cases, it may be marked by the formation of a lump or mass, which continues to grow over time and eventually princess against the nerves or muscles, thereby giving rise to symptoms like breathing difficulties. Unfortunately, there is no test as of now, before the onset of the symptoms, that can help to detect the malignancy. Some of the common symptoms associated with osteosarcoma include:
- Persistent or frequent bouts of pain in the affected bone
- Experiencing pain that worsens at night
- Swelling in the affected area
- Limping, when the tumour is in your lower limbs
Different types sarcoma
There are almost 50 different types of sarcoma, which are broadly classified into two categories - Soft tissue sarcoma and osteosarcoma.
Various types of soft tissue sarcoma
- Angiosarcoma, that develops in the blood or lymph vessels
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumour or GIST
- Liposarcoma, which develops in fat tissues present in the thighs and abdomen
- Vascular sarcoma
- Kaposi's sarcoma.
Various types of bone sarcoma
- Ewing sarcoma
What causes sarcoma?
One of the most important things to note here is that sarcoma can occur sporadically, with very little to completely no family history. In the majority of the cases, it is quite hard to determine what exactly causes sarcoma. It is however believed to be a result of and healthy mutations in the DNA of the cells which promote their uncontrollable growth and multiplication. There are certain factors that are believed to Trigger such changes. These include:
- Exposure to a high dose of radiation, which may be due to a previous dose of radiation therapy for treating some other cancer
- Certain genetic conditions such as neurofibromatosis or tuberous sclerosis.
- Exposure to harmful chemicals like vinyl chloride and dioxins at home or at the workplace
- Human herpesvirus 8, which is the clear and well-defined cause of Kaposi sarcoma
How is the cancer diagnosed?
Experts specialising in oncology treatment in Mumbai usually recommend a biopsy if they suspect sarcoma. Certain imaging tests which include CT scan and MRI may be conducted to look for the traces of cancer and assess the damage done by it. In case you are showing the symptoms of osteosarcoma, you will be recommended to go for a bone scan.
Depending upon the test reports and your overall health evaluation, a proper treatment plan will be devised out to yield the best results for you.