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Sarcoma – A Life Threatening Cancer

Cancer affects 1 in 4 people in the United States every year, with 13,040 of these cases being sarcomas, a rare cancer of the bone or soft tissue.  In 2018 alone 5,150 people are expected to die of sarcomas of the soft tissues, specifically the connective tissues. Raising awareness of these forms of cancer is important to aid in diagnosis and to ensure that work towards a cure continues so that more people can be spared from a death by sarcoma.

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How Many Types Of Sarcoma Are There?

Over 50 types of sarcoma exist, though they are lumped into two separate categories, soft tissue sarcoma and osteosarcoma. These forms of cancer can be treated if caught early enough, with treatment typically involving the surgical removal of the tumor.  The actual causes of sarcoma are largely unknown, which is why work must continue to identify the origins of this life-threatening condition.  Every year new research comes out, but it isn’t happening fast enough to help current patients before it takes their lives.  This is what makes fundraisers and donations such an important part of the future of it, because with enough research lives can be saved.

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Am I At Risk Of Sarcoma?

Unfortunately the causes of sarcoma remain largely unknown, though there are some factors that have revealed themselves to be warning signs.  If you have any of these warning signs it would be wise to communicate with your doctor about monitoring for sarcoma.  These factors are as follows:

  • A family history of sarcomas
  • You currently suffer from Paget’s disease, a bone disorder.
  • Genetic disorders such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Gardner syndrome, neurofibromatosis, and retinoblastoma
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Additionally there are some symptoms you can watch for that can be warning signs of a current case of sarcoma.  Generally speaking the first indicators of sarcomas are painless, and present as a lump that grows over time.  While there are presently no tests that can identify them before they start causing symptoms, you may notice them on your or your child’s body and mention them to your doctor.  Additionally, keep watch for the following symptoms:

  • Pain that occurs intermittently in the bones, which can worsen at night.
  • Swelling that occurs at the pain site, sometimes weeks afterwards.
  • Sarcomas can also cause a limp if occurring in a leg.
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In children these symptoms sometimes get mistaken for growing pains, but if they are occurring in an adult it’s time for an immediate visit to your doctor.  A safe and healthy recovery from sarcoma requires early diagnosis, so be sure to contact your physician immediately if you’re suffering from any of these symptoms.  If you or a loved one has battled or is battling sarcoma, consider participating in the fundraiser to help support research on this condition.