Sarcomas are a group of cancers that develop in bone or soft tissues. Soft tissue sarcoma (STS) can develop in the tissues of fat cells, muscles, nerves, tendons, lining of joints, blood vessels, lymph vessels, or deep skin tissues, totaling about 50 different types for this cancer. And because of the nature of STS, they can occur almost anywhere in the body. Over 60% of STS starts in an arm or leg, 20% in the torso or abdomen, and 10% occur in the head or neck. Even though there are many different types of sarcoma, they still only make up about 1% of all adult cancers, making sarcoma one of the rarest of all cancer types. Furthermore, not all soft tissue tumors are cancerous. But that doesn’t mean a lump found on the body shouldn’t be examined immediately.
Sarcoma that starts in bones is more likely to occur in children such as the Ewing Family of Tumors and Rhabdomyosaroma, with osteosarcoma occurring more often in adults, but this is a rare type of cancer.
People who have a strong family history of sarcoma or who have had other cancers should discuss genetic testing with their doctor. The test results should always be explained by a genetic counselor or a specially trained doctor who knows how to interpret these tests in order to give you the appropriate information.
Because sarcomas are uncommon it is important to find physicians who have experience with this disease. In the United States there are several locations that have physicians and teams dedicated to advancing the treatment of sarcoma. Patients with sarcoma should at least consider getting a second opinion at one of these centers. Click here to learn more about second opinions.
LEARNING MORE ABOUT SARCOMA
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