Sarcoma is a cancer that accounts for 1% of all adult cancers. It can affect individuals of any age and can impact any part of the body. It grows within the cartilage, bone, muscle, tendons, and other forms of connective tissue such as blood vessels.
More research on this rare cancer is drastically needed.
There are two forms of sarcoma, broadly defined; however, there are over 70 different subtypes of this disease, all based on the specific area affected or the type of cells involved.
- Soft tissue sarcoma- impacts the soft tissue in the extremities.
- Bone sarcoma- originates in the bone.
Sarcoma is incredibly complex, not only due to its rarity, but because of the many ways and areas in which it can present.
It is particularly difficult to detect in its early stages when it’s located in the soft tissue because the first symptom is typically a small, painless lump. Pain only begins when the tumor begins pressing on nerves.
Bone sarcoma frequently presents with pain.
Treatments also vary widely depending on subtype. Tumor size and location must be considered as well as the patient’s age. Therapies also differ if it is a new tumor, or whether it has returned.
Ultimately, the complexity of sarcoma means that it should be treated at an expert center that specializes in sarcoma. Patients need a team of multidisciplinary specialists such as radiologists, oncologists, pathologists, social workers, and nurses.
Rutgers Cancer Institute is one of these leadings centers, and the only NCI designated center in New Jersey. Doctors here emphasize personalized treatment, early detection, and potential immunotherapy options.
You can read more about this center and the need for more specialized care in sarcoma here.