03 July 2017
It’s Sarcoma Awareness Month and we’ve outlined some simple facts about sarcomas; what they are and how you can spot them.
Cancer terminology can be rather confusing at times, and there are many different types of cancers. They are usually named and identified after the types of cells that they develop from. Sarcomas develop from the cells of the connective tissue surrounding the organs such as muscles, bones and blood vessels. Bone and soft tissue sarcomas are the main types of sarcoma.
Soft tissue sarcomas
These often have no obvious symptoms, especially in the early stages. However, symptoms develop as the sarcoma develops:
- a soft painless lump under the skin
- cancer near the skin may cause abdominal pain, and a persistent feeling of fullness and constipation.
- cancer near the lung may cause a cough or breathlessness
Some people can find non-cancerous conditions such as cysts or lipomas, which can easily be mistaken for cancer. If you do find a lump, the best thing to do is to contact your GP. The earlier it is picked up, the more likely it is that it will be treated successfully. Your GP may arrange blood tests or an ultrasound scan for you to help understand more about the lump found and what can be done to treat it.
Several things can make you more prone to having a sarcoma such as:
- Radiotherapy treatment
- Family history
- Previous cancer
Your doctor will be able to go through the treatment options available to you. The main treatment options available are:
Curing sarcoma isn’t always possible, especially if it has spread to other parts of the body. However having treatment can ease the spread of cancer and manage the symptoms.
It’s important to note that stories about potential causes and treatments are often in the news, with minimal evidence to support its claims. Therefore it is always best to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional.
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