An Overview of Sarcoma Cancer
Sarcoma cancer is such a rare type of cancer that many people aren’t even familiar with it. Considering how dramatically the survival rate for sarcoma cancer improves when it’s detected early and promptly removed, however, it’s imperative for everyone to be aware of what sarcoma cancer is, and what to do in the event that they are diagnosed with it.
Read on for everything you need to know.
What is Sarcoma Cancer?
Not to be confused with similarly sounding but much more common carcinomas, sarcomas are tumors that grow within your body’s connective tissue, i.e. tissue that helps, well, connect your body’s organs, cushion them, and keep them held in place. Sarcomas are likeliest to flare up in your body’s:
- Blood vessels
Unfortunately, the cause of sarcoma cancer is a question to which modern science and medicine has yet to find an answer.
How Many Types of Sarcomas are There?
The list of sarcoma types is a lengthy one, as there are well over 50. But they all boil down into two categories based on where they form:
- Soft tissue sarcoma
- Bone sarcomas, aka osteosarcomas
Roughly 12,000 soft tissue sarcomas are diagnosed in the United States every year, while the annual number of bone sarcoma diagnoses usually checks in at about 1,000.
What are the Symptoms?
For soft tissue sarcoma, the most common initial warning sign is the appearance of a painless lump that, as it continues to grow, can press against your nerves and muscles in ways that cause discomfort and even trouble breathing. Unfortunately, no tests exist that can identify these lumps before they start causing problems.
For bone sarcomas, symptoms include:
- On-and-off pain in the affected bone, especially if it tends to worsen at night
- Swelling in the weeks following the first signs of bone pain
- Broken bones that occur without any identifiable cause
Both types of cancer may also result in abdominal pain and sudden, inexplicable weight loss.
An Additional Note on Symptoms
Getting tested for sarcoma cancer at the first sign of symptoms is crucial for everyone, but especially important for physically active teens who could easily confuse their symptoms for growing pains.
What are the Risk Factors?
Relatively speaking, children are more at risk for sarcoma cancer than adults are. The main risk factors associated with sarcoma cancer include having:
- A close relative who also had sarcoma cancer
- A genetic disorder such as neurofibromatosis, retinoblastoma, Gardner syndrome or Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Paget’s disease, a chronic bone disorder in which your body’s natural bone remodeling process gets continually disrupted
- Lymphedema, chronic swelling caused by a backup of lymph fluid blocking and potentially damaging your body’s lymphatic system
- Prolonged exposure to radiation (i.e. during the course of cancer treatment) viruses and certain chemicals
What are the Stages of Sarcoma Cancer?
Sarcoma cancer is evaluated in five stages based on the extent to which the tumor cells have grown. The breakdown of the stages is as follows:
- Stage 0 – There is no evidence of the existence of a primary tumor.
- Stage I – The tumor is 5cm or less.
- Stage II – The tumor is between 5-10cm.
- Stage III – The tumor is between 10-15cm.
- Stage IV – The tumor is larger than 15cm.
How is Sarcoma Cancer Tested? And How is it Treated?
If you think you may have a sarcoma on your body, you can find out for sure thanks to common testing methods like:
- CT scan
- Ultrasound (yep! The same method used for a pregnancy test)
- A bone scan, if testing for a bone sarcoma
In cases when a sarcoma has been detected before it has spread to other parts of the body, it can usually be removed entirely via surgery. If the sarcoma has spread far enough to make sarcoma surgery too risky, however, it can also be treated by way of radiation, chemotherapy, and other new forms of targeted therapy.
But the goal is to pounce on the sarcoma before you need therapy, as surgery is by far the safest option. In America, when sarcomas are removed solely by surgery, the survival rate is as high as 90%. When other methods are involved, the survival rate can dip as low as 56%.
Natural Treatment for Sarcoma Cancer
While conventional cancer treatment, like chemotherapy or radiation, may be effective to treat cancer, they can come with potential side effects that leave you weak and physically drained. Alternative therapies aim to work with existing treatments to support your recovery and mitigate side effects from traditional chemotherapy or surgery.
At Immunity Therapy Center we can provide an alternative treatment catered to your health and diagnosis. Our primary goal is to provide a comprehensive range of alternative treatment options to treat cancer. Our team is committed to consulting directly with you to develop a sarcoma natural treatment plan that is individualized to work with your personal needs and health while providing flexibility and knowledge to adjust and adapt your treatment as your health changes. Dr. Bautista offers one-on-one consultations to truly get to know you as a person and build a working relationship to provide you with the most suitable integrative medicine options.
1) “Sarcoma” by editorial staff at WebMD
2) “Sarcoma, Soft Tissue: Stages and Grades” by editorial staff at Cancer.Net
3) “How Rare is Sarcoma?” by editorial staff at Sarcoma Alliance