Let’s get straight to the point. People do not immediately associate sarcoma when encountering the term “cancer’. Some may not even know what a sarcoma is. Individuals always think of skin, breast, lung, ovarian, and prostate cancer but only seldom will you encounter a person that would think of sarcoma first before the aforementioned ones. This month, July, is designated as Sarcoma Awareness Month and is the perfect time to learn about the disease and why, despite being highly dangerous and difficult to overcome.
What It Is
Sarcoma is actually a cancer of the connective tissues, which includes the nerves, muscles, and bones. It can develop anywhere in the body and is usually located deep in either the lower or upper extremities. If you wish to learn more about sarcoma, you can visit http://www.curesarcoma.org/ for additional resources.
Commonly Mistaken for Something Else
What makes sarcoma so difficult to treat is that it is often misdiagnosed, so treatment is only provided at a later stage. It is very hard to locate, which is why many physicians have mistakenly assumed that sarcomas are either benign bumps or injuries or harmless bumps.
Sarcomas are very rare tumors, which make up less than 1% of cancers that develop among adults and and almost 21% of cancers in children. In conventional medicine, the best chance of diagnosis and treatment is when a group of doctors specializing in all aspects of sarcoma work hand in hand.
Fortunately, despite the fact that is very hard for cancer patients to overcome, there are still a lot of people that survive the disease either by conventional Western medicine or through a holistic cancer treatment facility.
Types of Sarcoma
This disease has two basic types, which are the (1) soft tissue sarcoma and the (2) bone and joint sarcoma. There are, however more than 50 subtypes of sarcoma that fall under these two main categories.
Soft tissue sarcomas make up less than 1% of all cancer cases. There are approximately 11,000 individuals who are diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma in the United States annually. Primary bone sarcoma, on the other hand, takes up around 0.2% of all cancer cases. Tere is an estimated 2,900 people who develop and diagnosed with bone and joint sarcomas in the US each year, with close to half of them fall below 35 years of age.
How are Individuals Diagnosed with Sarcoma?
A patient usually has to see more than one physician and undergo several medical tests before a sarcoma is detected and diagnosed. One of the most widely used method when it comes to diagnosis of sarcoma is through a biopsy, where a doctor takes a small sample of the tumor for analysis. A sarcoma specialist should be able to recommend the best biopsy approach for each patient.
Once the biopsy has been performed, the sample tumor tissue will be scrutinized under a microscope to ensure that the tumor is indeed malignant and then determine how aggressive the tumor is at present stage. When it comes to finding out which specific type of sarcoma is present in the patient, it is usually tasked to a highly experienced pathologist with the proper specialization. Biopsy results, along with the findings of other tests are used to determine the disease stage.
In conventional medicine, the kind of treatment for sarcoma typically depends on the following factors:
- tumor type
- grade (aggressiveness)
- cancer stage
However, almost all sarcomas are treated with surgery, whenever possible. When surgery is chosen as treatment, the goal would be to remove not only the tumor, but the entirety of the disease from the affected areas.
There are low-grade tumors that require only surgical procedures, but some are treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy as well. This measure is done in order to prevent further spread of the cancerous cells throughout the body. These therapies may be required before or after the surgery.
Support for Cancer Patients
The duration and intensity of sarcoma treatment can be both shocking and disheartening to many patients and their loved ones. Coping with the side effects of the treatments can prove to be quite a challenge. A sizable percentage of patients and their families have joined support groups, which can be an excellent source of strength as well as information. Families can also seek counseling and support services at cancer centers and local charitable organizations.
Are Sarcomas Curable?
Cures are treatments that eradicate an illness permanently. Many sarcomas are curable, particularly (a) low grade malignancies which only require surgery and (b) the pediatric sarcomas. Still, many physicians don’t use the term “cure” when talking about sarcoma.
As opposed to most types of carcinoma, there is really no time when “cure” is felt to have been definitively achieved. Sarcoma is a lifelong diagnosis, and should be treated as such. Having said this, most recurrences or metastases will be discovered within the first two to five years after treatment. This is why some rely on a holistic cancer treatment facility for complementary support. Once the patient has cleared the five-year mark, the risk of recurrence diminishes greatly, but still certainly exists.
Because sarcomas can return long after an initial diagnosis, survivors have regular check-ups for many years after treatment ends. Some of those survivors choose to share their stories to encourage others. For more cancer information, visit / today.