Due to a lack of awareness and understanding sarcoma is still considered to be the “forgotten cancer.” Efforts are being made to encourage research and drug development. During Sarcoma Awareness Month we aim to further highlight the extraordinary challenges that sarcoma patients face and the need for more sarcoma research and better sarcoma therapies.
According to Dr Amit Bhargava, Senior Consultant – Medical Oncology Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad – soft tissue sarcomas are a term given to cancers originating from muscles, fat, tendons, nerves and lymph nodes. “Primarily all the soft tissues other than the soft tissues of the organs,” he added.
Most common sites of its origin
The most common site of its origin are the limbs ( Hands and legs). But they can also occur in chest and abdomen areas. In females, Uterus is also a common organ for soft tissue sarcomas.
They are of multiple types depending upon the tissue of origin and behaviour and hence are treated accordingly.
They usually are present as a painless lump to start with and gradually grows in size. Pain is usually a late feature when it grows to a larger size and starts involving other surrounding tissues.
Some of them are high grade and have a high potential to spread to other organs (Stage four).
Diagnosis is usually made by Radiological work up and a Biopsy & IHC.
- A lump that can be felt through the skin that may or may not be painful.
- Bone pain.
- A broken bone that happens unexpectedly, such as with a minor injury or no injury at all.
- Abdominal pain.
- Weight loss.
Small tumours can be operated upon and as biopsy, adjuvant radiation or chemo or both can be used to consolidate the treatment.
Large tumours are subjected to chemotherapy or radiation to down stage the disease before taking up for definitive surgery.
Metastatic disease ( stage 4 ) disease is usually taken up for palliative treatment with chemotherapy and or radiation.