Sarcoma Awareness Month 2022: Why Is Sarcoma Considered To Be An Aggressive Cancer

  • 13 Jul 2022

Sarcoma Awareness month is observed annually every year in July. This month is celebrated to raise awareness about this “forgotten and dismissive cancer”. Let’s talk about what sarcomas are? How fast do sarcomas grow and what are the types of sarcoma cancer.

What is Sarcoma?

Sarcomas is a type of cancer that begins in the bone, or soft tissues of the body that include cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, fibrous tissue and other connective & supportive tissue. Their occurrence is both in adults and children. Different types of sarcoma are based on where the cancer forms. These are very rare tumors. The sarcoma cancer treatment and outcome also referred as its prognosis is based on-

  • Type of cancer
  • Grade of cancer

What Is Cancer Grading?

It refers to observation that reflects how abnormal the cancer cells look under the microscope and how quickly the cancer cells are likely to grow and spread.

How Are Sarcomas Classified?

Sarcomas are usually malignant and are classified as –

  • Primary connective tissue tumors
  • Secondary connective tissue tumors
  • Bone sarcomas
  • Soft tissue sarcomas

The secondary types are metastatic in nature and form anywhere in the body such as lungs, breast etc., and spread to connective tissue. 

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Sarcomas?

Symptoms of bone sarcoma -

  • Bone pain
  • Swelling at tumor site
  •  Fever
  •  Bumps. 

Symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma vary as per their subtype and location but are usually present as painless lumps.

What Are The Causes And Risk Factors That Comprise Sarcomas?

Bone sarcomas are caused due to exposure to radiation, certain inherited genetic syndromes, exposure to cancer chemotherapeutic medicines etc., while soft tissue sarcomas are caused by random genetic mutations, exposure to ionizing radiation, heavy metals exposure, breast cancer treatment or viral attacks. 

Where Are Most Sarcomas Found?

  • 40 % in lower extremities
  • 30% in chest, abdomen, pelvis 
  • 15% in head, neck, upper extremities

How Is Treatment Selected For Any Cancer Or Sarcoma?

A definitive diagnosis of all such tumors require biopsy and histopathological evaluation by a pathologist. It’s mandatory to not ignore the cancer staging as it is a predictor of cancer prognosis. So to know how advanced a cancer is based on certain factors, the type of treatment can also be decided. All cancers and sarcomas are graded as low grade, intermediate grade and high grade. So basically grading states how aggressive a cancer is and how far it can metastasize in the body.

What Are Some Common Types Of Sarcoma?

  • Angiosarcoma of blood vessels
  • Osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma of bone
  • Chondrosarcoma of cartilage
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor of GIT
  • Lip sarcoma of fat cells
  • Fibrosarcoma of fibrous connective tissue
  • Hemangioendothelioma , a vascular neoplasm

There are more than 70 types of sarcoma known. 

What Causes Sarcoma?

The general mechanism of cancer or sarcoma metastasis is that in general, cancers form when mutations occur in DNA within cells. This DNA is packaged inside genes of cells that contain a set of instructions, telling them what functions to perform and how to grow and divide. Mutations tell the cells to grow and divide uncontrollably and continue living when normal cells die. These uncontrollably divided cells form lumps that accumulate forming tumors and then these cells break away and metastasize to other body parts.

How To Differentiate Between Carcinoma, Sarcoma And Lymphoma?

There are some cancers which are called carcinoma. As they sound similar to sarcoma, they differ in the fact that they have a less rapid growth and spread by the lymphatic system of the body. They are equally life-threatening.

While lymphomas are cancers of lymph nodes and tissues of the immune system. A sarcoma also grows in deep skin tissues where it is called by a lay man as skin cancer. There are many types of skin cancers. Most are caused by carcinogens ingested and excess exposure to sun rays.

However the intermediate grade of sarcomas sometimes behave as a cancer and non-cancer. They are also referred to as intermediate soft tissue tumors.

Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy etc.

To save lives of those suffering from cancers, tumors, sarcomas etc., it is important to educate them, raise awareness and let them have access to good medical facilities so that they can be cured.

P.S-  The PGC team is also working towards this goal. Visit Project Global Cure to know more and get a glimpse of the work done by us.

It’s better not to shut one’s eye to any lumps that develop in the body and become noticeable. Rush to the doctor so that it is treated well.

After all, a stitch in time saves nine!!!!!!! So, do visit your doctor next time when you have lumps and bumps! DO NOT IGNORE THEM!

Contact us

Request a Proposal