Sarcoma: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Updated on 18 August 2022

Sarcoma: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Sarcoma is a rare kind of Cancer.  It begins in the bone or the soft tissues of the body, including cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, fibrous tissue or connective or supportive tissues.

Types of Sarcoma

There are different types of Sarcomas, depending upon where it forms:

  • Osteosarcoma: It most often occurs in the long bones that make up the arms and legs, although it can occur in any bone. Normally it affects children and young adults.
  • Liposarcoma: It begins in the fat cells, most often in the muscles of the limbs or the abdomen.
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma: It usually begins in muscles that are attached to bones, which help us to move our body parts. It is a cancer of very early forms of muscle cells, it is more common in children and young adults.

It is not very clear what causes Sarcomas. But in general, cancer forms when changes happen in the DNA within the cells. The DNA in a cell is packaged into a large number of single genes, each designed to perform a specific task or function as to how to grow and divide.

This leads us to the topic of mutation. A mutation is a change in the DNA sequence of an organism.  They can result from malfunctioning in DNA replication during cell division. So, the cells start growing uncontrollably and continue living when the normal cells die. When this happens, the accumulated abnormal cells can form a tumour.

Risks of Sarcoma

There are many risk factors which include,

  • Inherited syndromes: It could be inherited by the child through parents genetically.
  • Chemical exposure: Exposure to certain chemicals like herbicides, arsenic or dioxin can increase the risk of getting soft tissue Sarcomas.
  • Radiation exposure: Sometimes in the past, the patient may have been exposed to radiation therapy, which could become one of the reasons for getting soft tissue cancer.
  • Exposure to viruses: Viruses can play havoc with a weakened immune system.

Symptoms of Sarcoma

The onset symptoms of Sarcoma can be gauged by,

  • A lump that can be felt beneath the skin, may or may not be painful.
  • There may be pain in the bones.
  • Some pain in the abdomen.
  • Unusual weight loss.

Treatment of Sarcoma

Treatment suggested by the Best Oncologist in Raipur for the soft tissue Sarcoma could be by way of,

  • Surgery, with or without radiation therapy.
  • Surgery of the body part, where it is affected (which is rarely done)
  • Surgery in the lungs, where it has recurred again.
  • Chemotherapy treatment can be done, which aggressively eliminates cancer, prevents recurrence and maintains the patient's quality of life.  The treatment may cause side effects, but advancement in science has reduced it to a large extent.

Selected patients who progress on the above therapies can benefit from NGS (Next Generation Sequencing), wherein we molecularly identify mutations or gene alterations. Once a mutation is identified it can be targeted precisely with Targeted Therapy or Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy strengthens the body’s immune system and so it is better able to identify and fight cancer cells.

Dr. Ravi Jaiswal

Consultant Medical Oncologist

Ramkrishna CARE Hospitals, Raipur





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