Understanding Sarcoma : Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatments, and Stages

Sarcoma is a type of cancer affecting the soft tissue and bones in the body. It is a rare form of cancer, accounting for about 1% of all cancer diagnoses. A clear understanding of the different types, symptoms, and treatments available is essential to diagnose and provide adequate care to those affected by Sarcoma .

Sarcomas can occur anywhere in the body, as the soft tissues and bones are present everywhere. The incidence of sarcomas is higher in children when compared to adults.

Symptoms of Sarcoma

Sarcoma symptoms often vary depending on the location of the tumor. However, some general signs and symptoms of sarcoma include the development of a lump or swelling, tenderness, and pain. Not all lumps are sarcomas, but any lump bigger than 2mm in size, whether painful or painless, needs to be checked upon by the doctor.

Sarcomas do not usually show symptoms, in their early stages. The symptoms begin to develop only when the tumor grows big enough, and impedes the function of the surrounding vital organs.

Types of Sarcoma

There are two primary types of Sarcoma - soft tissue and bone sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcoma develops in the body's soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, nerves, fat, and blood vessels. Whereas, bone sarcoma usually begins in the bones of the body, commonly affecting young adults, teenagers, and children.

The most common types of sarcoma are osteosarcoma, which affect the bone, and synovial sarcoma, which affects the soft tissue.

Some of the other types of sarcomas include, Adenocarcinoma, fibrocarcinoma, liposarcoma etc.

Causes of Sarcoma C

The exact causes of Sarcoma are often unknown. However, several factors may increase the risk of developing sarcoma, including radiation exposure, family history, certain inherited medical conditions, and environmental factors. Having a history of cancer may also increase the risk of developing Sarcoma.

Tests and Diagnosis for Sarcoma

Laboratory tests , , biopsies, and Imaging scans, are some of the ways to diagnose sarcomas.

Imaging scans, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI, PET-CT scan, produce detailed images of the tumor and surrounding tissues. All these tests can only indicate the presence of cancer, while biopsies which are gold standard for diagnosing sarcoma provide a confirmatory diagnosis of cancer. The process of biopsy involves removing a tissue sample from the suspected cancer site and examining it in a laboratory under a microscope.

Pathologists play an important role in diagnosing and the identifying the type of sarcoma, based on the tumor sample. They also help to grade the stage of cancer, and help the doctor plan the treatment accordingly.

Stages of Sarcoma

Sarcoma stages range from Stage I to Stage IV, depending on the size, location, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. The stage of Sarcoma at diagnosis influences the treatment options available. Initial screening tests, such as imaging scans and biopsies, are necessary to determine the stage of the tumor.

Treatments for Sarcoma

Treatment for Sarcoma aims to remove the tumor while minimizing the damage to surrounding tissues. Some of the treatment options for sarcomas include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. Treatment plans vary by the stage of sarcoma at diagnosis, age, and overall health.

Sarcoma is treatable

Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer but cannot be taken lightly as early diagnosis and right treatment is crucial to manage it. Understanding the different types, symptoms, causes, treatments available, and diagnostic tests is essential. If you or your loved one is experiencing symptoms or have concerns about Sarcoma cancer, seeking medical attention immediately can help lead to an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a valuable technique used in the diagnosis and characterization of sarcomas. It involves the use of specific antibodies to detect and visualize cancer markers in tissue samples. IHC helps pathologists identify the presence or absence of certain cancer markers in the tumor tissue, aiding in the classification and subtyping of sarcomas.

IHC Sarcoma panel is an important tool to diagnose and subtype sarcoma . If your doctor has suggested IHC Sarcoma panel, after seeing your primary medical reports, book the test today at AMPATH. Our highly qualified team of pathologists are well equipped to perform this test and diagnose sarcomas more accurately.