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What is Sarcoma?

Jonathan Hernandez3 months ago

July is Sarcoma Awareness Month in the United States, and today on the blog, we take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about Sarcoma.

What is Sarcoma?

The word “Sarcoma” comes from the Greek word meaning “fleshy growth.” In short, a Sarcoma is a cancerous malignant tumor that is found on connective tissues in the human body including, fat, blood vessels, muscles, cartilage, and deep skin tissues.

There are two main groups of sarcomas – bone sarcomas and soft tissue sarcomas. Both of the different types share some similarities including the types of symptoms. Sarcomas are known to develop in both children and adults.

Soft Tissue Sarcomas

A soft tissue sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that makes up about one percent of all cancer diagnoses in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are about 3,900 people who die in the United States every year from the disease. About 40 percent of soft tissue sarcomas happen on the legs – either on or right below the area of the knee.

At this time, the exact cause of soft tissue sarcomas is unknown, but researchers are working to determine how doctors can better predict their growth. There are hardly any symptoms of sarcomas early on, and they can sometimes grow quite large before they are even felt. Most of the time, they are characterized by a painless lump. As the lump grows, it may begin to press against nearby muscles or nerves, causing pain and soreness.

The only sure way to diagnose a sarcoma is through surgical biopsy, which removes tissue from the tumor and analyses it under a microscope. Sarcomas are usually treated through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

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