Sarcoma is a group of cancers that originate in bones and soft tissues (connective tissues). When cancer arises in the tissues that connect, support and surround other parts of the body, it is known as soft tissue sarcoma. These soft tissue includes muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons and the lining of the joints.
More than seventy different types of sarcoma exist. The treatment methods used to treat the disease depend on its type, location and other factors.
- A painful or painless lump under the skin
- Bone pain
- Bone fracture from minor accident or no accident at all
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
The causes of sarcoma are unclear. Generally, cancer begins when the DNA of the healthy cells mutate causes uncontrolled duplication resulting in abnormal cells also known as a tumor. This tumor then starts to invade and destroy the healthy cell in nearby areas. These cells are likely to metastasize (spread to other parts of the body)
- Inherited syndromes poss a high risk of developing cancer, which may pass down to children from parents. Familial retinoblastoma and neurofibromatosis type 1 are the examples of inherited syndromes.
- Radiation therapy for cancer is a contributing risk factor for sarcoma.
- Lymphedema is a swelling condition arises from a buildup of lymph fluid, which happens because of a blocked or destroyed lymphatic system. This put patients at a great risk of developing angiosarcoma, a type of sarcoma.
- Exposure to chemicals such as chemicals from industries and herbicides is a risk of sarcoma that affects the liver.
- Exposure to viruses such as human herpesvirus 8. This has the potential for patients with weak immune systems to develop a sarcoma known as Kaposi’s sarcoma.