Angiosarcoma originates in the layer of cells of vessels in the circulatory system and the lymphatic system. The lymph vessels boost our immunity as they help our body get rid of undesired materials such as bacteria, viruses and waste products.
Any part of the body can be affected by this rare type of cancer. The skin of the head and the neck are at the highest risk of developing angiosarcoma. Less common areas for this cancer to grow include the breast’s skin and certain organs inside the body like the liver and the heart. The cancer also occurs in the area which once received radiation.
There are a lot of treatments available for angiosarcoma. Examples include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The doctor will choose the best option for you based on which area is being affected by the cancer.
Signs and symptoms of angiosarcoma varies depending on where the tumor is located:
Angiosarcoma is most often found in the skin on the head and neck, especially on the scalp. Its symptoms include:
- A bruise-like area of skin
- A bruise-like lesion that grows larger
- A lesion that may bleed when scratched or bumped
- Swelling skin around the lesion
This kind of angiosarcoma tends to cause pain as it affects organs such as the liver or the heart. It can cause any other symptoms based on where it is located.
In case of having persisting and concerning symptoms, consult the doctor.
No clear causes of angiosarcoma have been found yet. However, certain things have been found to be contributing factors of angiosarcoma.
This kind of cancer can be caused by an excessive buildup of abnormal cells in one area, which can spread to normal tissues or organs of another area and destroy them.
The accumulation of cancerous cells might be prompted by changes or mutations of these cells in the lining of a blood vessel or lymph vessel. The mutations cause uncontrolled multiplication of cells and prevent them from dying. This is unlike normal cells, which will just die within a certain period of time.
There are many contributing factors to angiosarcoma. They include:
- Radiation therapy, as this kind of treatment can increase the risk of angiosarcoma, which is yet a rare occurrence.
- Lymph vessel damage and the subsequent swelling or lymphedema (accumulation of lymph fluid), which is caused by removal of lymph nodes through the surgery, an infection or any other causes.
- Exposure to certain chemicals, such as vinyl chloride and arsenic, which can potentially increase the risk of liver angiosarcoma.
- Diseases caused by a genetic syndrome or a gene change, such as neurofibromatosis, Maffucci syndrome, Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, as well as changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.