Sarcoma is an uncommon group of cancers which arise in the bones and connective tissue such as fat and muscle. A tumour that occurs in the bones and soft tissues is also known as soft tissue sarcoma cancer.
Bone and soft tissue sarcomas are the main types of sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop from soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. They can be found in any part of the body. Most of them develop in the arms or legs. They can also be found in the trunk, head and neck area, internal organs, and the area in back of the abdominal cavity (known as the retroperitoneum). Sarcomas are not common tumors, and most cancers are the type of tumors called carcinomas.
In this write up, we talk about the causes, symptoms, prevention if there is one treatment, diagnosis, stages and risk factor.
According to America study cancer, the system often used to stage sarcomas is the TNM system of American Joint Committee on Cancer.
- T stands for the size of the tumor.
- N stands for spread to lymph nodes (small bean-shaped collections of immune system cells found throughout the body that help fight infections and cancers).
- M is for metastasis (spread to distant organs).
In soft tissue sarcomas, an additional factor, called grade (G), is also part of the tumor’s stage. The grade is based on how the sarcoma cells look under the microscope.
There four stages of sarcoma as listed above.
T1, N0, M0, G1 or GX: The tumor is not larger than 5 cm (2 inches) across (T1). It has not spread to lymph nodes (N0) or more distant sites (M0). The cancer is grade 1 (or the grade cannot be assessed).
T2, N0, M0, G1 or GX: The tumor is larger than 5 cm (2 inches) across (T2). It has not spread to lymph nodes (N0) or more distant sites (M0). The cancer is grade 1 (or the grade cannot be assessed).
T1, N0, M0, G2 or G3: The tumor is not larger than 5 cm (2 inches) across (T1). It has not spread to lymph nodes (N0) or more distant sites (M0). The cancer is grade 2 or 3.
T2, N0, M0, G2: The tumor is larger than 5 cm (2 inches) across (T2). It has not spread to lymph nodes (N0) or more distant sites (M0). The cancer is grade 2.
T2, N0, M0, G3: It is larger than 5 cm (2 inches) across (T2). It has not spread to lymph nodes (N0) or more distant sites (M0). The cancer is grade 3.
Any T, N1, M0, any G: The cancer can be any size (any T) and any grade (any G). It has spread to nearby lymph nodes (N1). It has not spread to distant sites (M0).
Any T, Any N, M1, any G: The cancer can be any size (any T) and grade (any G). It has spread to lymph nodes near the tumor (N1) and/or to distant sites (M1).
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The symptoms and signs of sarcoma varies from different place where it ocure. From www,cancer.com, sarcoma are common to legs and arms and it give the sign of lump that has grown over a period of time (weeks to months). Although the lump is often not painful, in some cases it will hurt. The first noticeable symptom is usually a painless lump or swelling. As the tumor grows, it may cause other symptoms, such as pain or soreness, as it presses against nearby nerves and muscles. If in the abdomen it can cause abdominal pains commonly mistaken for menstrual cramps, indigestion, or cause constipation.
When sarcomas grow in the back of the abdomen (the retroperitoneum), the symptoms they cause more often come from other problems. Sometimes the tumors cause pain. They may also cause blockage or bleeding of the stomach or bowels. Sarcomas can also begin on the outside of the chest or abdomen (about 10%) or in the head or neck area (around 10%).
the pics is from wikipedia showing the types of sarcoma
These are the factors that affect the chances of getting diseases. The following are the risk factor. From Wikipedia soft tissue sarcoma are not associated with any known risk factors or identifiable cause. There are some exceptions:
- Studies suggest that workers who are exposed to chlorophenolsin wood preservatives and phenoxy herbicides may have an increased risk of developing soft-tissue sarcomas. An unusual percentage of patients with a rare blood vessel tumor, angio-sarcoma of the liver, have been exposed to vinyl chloride in their work. This substance is used in the manufacture of certain plastics, notably PVC
- In the early 1900s, when scientists were just discovering the potential uses of radiationto treat disease, little was known about safe dosage levels and precise methods of delivery. At that time, radiation was used to treat a variety of noncancerous medical problems, including enlargement of the tonsils, adenoids, and thymus gland. Later, researchers found that high doses of radiation caused soft-tissue sarcomas in some patients. Because of this risk, radiation treatment for cancer is now planned to ensure that the maximum dosage of radiation is delivered to diseased tissue while surrounding healthy tissue is protected as much as possible.
- Kaposi’s sarcoma, a rare cancer of the cells that line blood vessels in the skin and mucus membranes, is caused by Human hypes virus. Kaposi’s sarcoma often occurs in patients with AIDS(acquired immune deficiency syndrome). Kaposi’s sarcoma, however, has different characteristics than typical soft-tissue sarcomas and is treated differently.
- In a very small fraction of cases, sarcoma may be related to a rare inherited genetic alteration of the p53gene and is known as Li-fromeni syndromes. Certain other inherited disease are associated with an increased risk of developing soft-tissue sarcomas. For example, people with neurofibromatosis type 1 (also called von Recklinghausen’s disease, associated with alterations in the NF1 gene) are at an increased risk of developing soft-tissue sarcomas known as malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. Patients with inherited retinoblastoma have alterations in the RB1 gene, a tumor suppressor gene, and are likely to develop soft-tissue sarcomas as they mature into adulthood.
There two main method of diagnosing sarcoma, the two are image testing and Biopsy.
IMAGE TESTING are some tests, such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, are often done to look for the cause of symptoms and to find a tumor (such as a sarcoma). Other tests may be done after a sarcoma is diagnosed to look for cancer spread.
Plain x ray: A regular x-ray of the area with the lump may be the first test ordered. A chest x-ray may be done after you are diagnosed to see if the sarcoma has spread to the lungs.
Computed tomography scans: The CT scan is an x-ray procedure that produces detailed, cross-sectional images of your body. Instead of taking one picture like a conventional x-ray, a CT scanner takes many pictures as it rotates around you. A computer then combines these pictures into an image of a slice of your body. The machine will create multiple images of the part of your body being studied. A CT scan is often done if the doctor suspects a soft tissue sarcoma in the chest, abdomen, or the retroperitoneum (the of the abdomen). This test is also used to see if the sarcoma has spread into the lungs, liver or other organs
Magnetic resonance imaging scan:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans use radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to take pictures of the body. The energy from the radio waves is absorbed and then released in a pattern formed by the type of tissue and by certain diseases. A computer translates the pattern of radio waves given off by the tissues into a very detailed image of parts of the body. A contrast material might be injected, just as with CT scans, but is used less often.
BIOPSY: A biopsy is a procedure that removes a sample of tissue from a tumor to see if it is cancer. The piece of tissue is looked at under a microscope and, some other tests may be done on the sample as well. A physical exam or imaging testing may suggest that a tumor is a sarcoma, but a biopsy is the only way to be certain that it is a sarcoma and not another type of cancer or a benign disease.
Several types of biopsies are used to diagnose sarcomas. Doctors experienced with these tumors will choose one, based on the size and location of the tumor. Most prefer to use a fine needle aspiration or a core needle biopsy as the first step.
▪ Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy
▪ Core needle biopsy
▪ Testing biopsy samples
In general, treatment for soft-tissue sarcomas depends on the stage of the cancer. The stage of the sarcoma is based on the size and grade of the tumor, and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body (metastasized). Treatment options for soft-tissue sarcomas include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
- Surgery is the most common treatment for soft-tissue sarcomas. If possible, the doctor will remove the cancer and a safe margin of the healthy tissue around it. It is important to obtain a margin free of tumor to decrease the likelihood of local recurrence and give the best chance for eradication of the tumor. Depending on the size and location of the sarcoma, it may, rarely, be necessary to remove all or part of an arm or leg.
- Radiation therapymay be used either before surgery to shrink tumors or after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may have been left behind. In some cases, it can be used to treat tumors that cannot be surgically removed. In multiple studies, radiation therapy has been found to improve the rate of local control, but has not had any influence on overall survival.
- Chemo therapymay be used with radiation therapy either before or after surgery to try to shrink the tumor or kill any remaining cancer cells. The use of chemotherapy to prevent the spread of soft-tissue sarcomas has not been proven to be effective. If the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, chemotherapy may be used to shrink tumors and reduce the pain and discomfort they cause, but is unlikely to eradicate the disease.
A combination of Taxotere and Gemzar could be an effective chemotherapy regimen in patients with advanced soft-tissue sarcoma.
The best way to prevent sarcoma is just to keep away from the risk factor and try to always go for medical check of our body system in case we notice anything strange.
ref; wikipdia and america cancer society