“Sarcoma is similar to other types of cancers that if detected early, the treatment can proved very effective. On the contrary, if the cancer is found in a metastatic stage, the survival rate is markedly reduced.”
You have probably never heard of sarcoma as it is extremely rare but the mortality rate is alarmingly high. It claims the lives of 5,270 people each year while the diagnosis rate is only 12,750 out of 1.5 million people diagnosed annually in the States.
To raise more awareness about this type of cancer, July is therefore designated as the month of Sarcoma.
Sarcoma is a general term of a type of cancer found in connective tissue cells. Although there are various kinds of Sarcoma as these cells can develop into bone cells, cartilages, blood vessels and stem cells, the cancer is mainly grouped into 2 types, namely bone sarcoma and soft tissue sarcoma.
What is Bone Sarcoma?
As the name suggested, it occurs in the bone. Patients often experience pain in the effected bone that could worsen at night. Swelling and body pain could be another symptoms.
What is Soft Tissue Sarcoma?
There are more than 50 different types of soft tissue sarcomas as soft tissues come in various types and forms, ranging from muscles to nerves and blood vessels. Patients might notice lump or tumor (with or without pain) or have no symptom at all. However, for the case of digestive system cancer, abdominal pain and discomfort are often reported.
Assoc.Prof.Dr. Theera Umsawasdi, our Medical Oncologist at Bumrungrad International Hospital, explained further: “Sarcoma is similar to other types of cancers that if detected early, the treatment can proved very effective. On the contrary, if the cancer is found in a metastatic stage, the survival rate is markedly reduced.”
Treatment Guideline of Sarcoma
Dr. Theera added: “Operation is almost always considered first. However, operation alone does not suffice as sarcoma can spread quickly. That is why chemotherapy
should be given in tandem. The results are still unsatisfactory partly because the rarity of sarcoma itself delays the medical research progress”. Nevertheless, the advancement of medical science has brought us deeper understanding of cancer cell mechanism. We are now able to create targeted therapy or drug that target cancer’s specific cells, unlike traditional chemotherapy that kills cells without distinction.
Originating from the patient’s body, cancer cells in each patient are unique even when occurs in the same part of the bodies. Even in the same patient, cancer cells are dissimilar in different part of the body as well. These differences also effects treatment response. Our Comprehensive Genomic Profiling
at the Horizon Cancer Center could provide thorough data that enable doctor to determine the most feasible treatment for each individual.
As the symptoms of sarcoma cancer may not be easily noticeable, we recommend you to constantly monitor and observe your body. If there is any abnormality, please make an appointment with a doctor in order to receive accurate diagnosis and effective and timely treatment.